This study was undertaken to determine the effects of long-distance running on serum bilirubin fractions. Thirteen male ultramarathon runners participating in a 100-km race volunteered for the study. Venous blood samples were obtained shortly before and immediately after the race. Decreased serum haptoglobin levels (-66%) indicated the presence of hemolysis. After accounting for plasma-volume loss, significant post-race increases were found for creatine kinase (+20-fold), creatine kinase-MB (+252%), alanine aminotransferase (+42%), aspartate aminotransferase (+193%), gammaglutamyl transpeptidase (+56%), and glutamate dehydrogenase (+58%) serum activities, suggesting that running causes alterations of both muscle and liver tissues. Serum concentration of total bilirubin was significantly elevated (+106%) following the race, with changes corresponding to both unconjugated (+96%) and conjugated esters (+283%) of the pigment and significant increases in the ratio of esterified to total bilirubin. Our data show that long-distance running causes increases in the different serum bilirubin fractions which can be accounted for both hemolysis and hepatic disturbances.