This study was performed to assess the metabolic relation between hypoxanthine and uric acid following short-distance maximal running. Eleven trained males, mean age 22 years (16-31), were instructed to run 800 m in the shortest time possible. Blood samples were collected before warm-up, before the run, immediately after the run and periodically up to 24 h following the run. Blood lactate was determined after warm-up, and at 5, 10, and 30 min following the run. Mean VO2 max for the subjects was 65.8 (4.7) (SD) ml kg-1 min-1 and mean oxygen demand for the running was 118 (8)% of VO2 max. Plasma hypoxanthine levels rose from 3.3 (1.4) to a peak of 48.2 (19.0) mumol l-1 at 20 min following the run and at 180 min had almost returned to pre-run levels. Plasma uric acid levels rose from a pre-run value of 267 (34) to a peak value of 431 (87) mumol l-1 at 45 min following the run. Uric acid concentrations had not returned to normal at 10 h following the run. The blood lactate level peaked at 5 min with 13.7 (2.0) mmol l-1. The results obtained in this study indicate a metabolic relationship between the formation of hypoxanthine and the formation of uric acid. The data also indicate that xanthine oxidase is active following short-distance intensive running.