Plasma volume (PV) and renal function were studied in eight subjects for 3 d prior to and 6 d after a 56 km footrace. Immediately following the race, PV, creatinine clearance, and urine flow were unchanged from pre-race values. Over the subsequent 3 d, PV increased due initially to a 17 g influx of serum albumin and an associated increase in plasma sodium content, which persisted throughout the study period. A reduction in urine sodium secretion occurred during the race day. Creatinine clearance increased after the race and remained elevated for 48 h. Increases serum enzyme activities, C-reactive protein concentration, serum uric acid content, and plasma creatinine concentration and production suggest muscle damage. We suggested the following. First, the persistent post-exercise plasma volume expansion is initiated by an influx of albumin into the intravascular space with an associated increase in plasma sodium content. A decrease in urine sodium excretion during the race day would contribute to the latter. Second, the interpretation of post-race changes in serum constituents must take account of changes in plasma volume. Third, there is an increase in creatinine clearance, indicating an increase in glomerular filtration rate, after both standard and ultramarathon running. This may be caused by the products of muscle cell damage although the physiologic mechanism for this is unclear.