The behavior of hemostatic system activation during protracted physical exercise is well known, but the duration of its modification is not yet defined. In order to evaluate the time of hemostatic system activation after prolonged strenuous endurance physical exercise (typical marathon race: 42.195 km, v=15.35 km/h; mean length of time run 2.45+/-0.15 hours) 12 well-trained long-distance male runners (mean age: 35+/-7, range 25-47 years) were investigated. Blood samples were drawn in the morning on the day before the performance, immediately after the race, and 24 hours and 48 hours after the end of run. With respect of baseline, immediately after the race, a significant decrease of fibrinogen (-25%) and significant increases of prothrombin fragment 1+2 (+633%) and thrombin-antithrombin complex (+848%) were observed. A significant acceleration of euglobulin lysis time (-41%), and rises of plasma levels of tissue plasminogen activator antigen (+361%), plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 antigen (+235%), d-dimer (+215%), and plasma fibrinogen degradation products (+1200%) were also found. Only a slight, yet not significant, decrease in plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 activity was observed. One day after the end of marathon different parameters were still unchanged. Forty-eight hours after the competition all parameters investigated returned to baseline values. These results indicate a persistence of clotting as well as fibrinolysis activation up to 24 hours after the end of the race.