UTMB 2016 - Summary of ITRA activities

In parallel of this international event which is the UTMB, let us inform you about the huge week our ITRA team had, where the attendance of many top runners, worldwide organizations and international journalists was the perfect opportunity to encourage discussions and develop our activity. Below, a summary of an exceptional week...

Top runners' health controls before and after the UTMB races

During all the week, UTMB organization wished to set up a health policy, coordinated by the ITRA and technically managed by the Association "Athletes For Transparency" (AFT). This health policy is to ensure the runners' health conditions from their test results and also to remind the existing regulation regarding the anti-doping policy. The nature of the tests may vary from an edition to an other and inside the different organizations. Regarding the 2016 UTMB races, the 100 best runners in the ITRA ranking in men and women categories who were registered to the races did a salivary test before the start and after their arrivals. In total, 123 salivary tests had been done; 96 before the start (the runners registered for the race) and 27 at the arrival (depends on the retirements). These health mesures intend to be complementary of the anti-doping controls set up by the "Agence Française de Lutte contre le Dopage" (AFLD) at the TDS and UTMB arrivals.

The QUARTZ program's athletes on the UTMB

Since 2008, the UTMB organization wished to be more involved in the runners' healthcare follow-up, regarding the extreme conditions of ultra-endurance races and the potentials consequences for the body. Obviously, it concerns all the runners registered on the ITRA website as they have an access to their health space and can easily manage it, but also it is specifically oriented to the top runners, volunteers in a program named QUARTZ. Fernanda Maciel (BRA), who was supposed to run the UTMB 2016, finally decided not to run after a meeting with the ITRA medical commission, due to kidney function disorders, detected in the QUARTZ program context. This renal dysfunction follows a severe dehydration happened in July 2016 during a race in the US, as Fernanda explains in her Facebook page. Caroline Chaverot (FRA) who is also part of the runners who are under the care of the QUARTZ program, had to be hospitalized few hours after the race, due to a huge malaise as she explains in a press conference.

The need to support research and involve all the organizations for a better health follow-up

It is important to study all the consequences for the body of the trail-running practices but also, and more generally, for all the ultra-endurance sports in order to preserve the runners' health in the long term. This guideline "understand to preserve one's health" is the actual purpose of the recent creation of the Ultra Endurance Sports Science endowment funds, for which the ITRA is a strong support and the first engaged institutional partner. This is the reason why the 3rd Ultra Sport Science International Congress took place in Chamonix from August 21st to 23rd. This congress, which had been very successful, was the perfect moment to share research subjects with several specialists coming from the entire world and sensibilize the runners and the practitioners. Moreover, the discussions with the organizations present at the Ultra Trail Salon from August 23rd to 26th, highlighted their willingness to be more involved in the runners' health controls, not only in fairness to the race but mainly for safety measures. ITRA's role is to help these organizations to transform their willingness in reality.

Meeting with an international group of top runners

Thanks to Nathalie Mauclair, many runners were invited to participate in a working meeting upon their own subjects. This went in addition to the firsts discussions between Majell Backhausen (AUS) and Nathalie Mauclair (FRA) where several topics were discussed like 1) runners' health 2) evaluation of the races' quality, or also current topics ITRA would like to cover very soon like 3) the representativeness of the runners inside the General Assembly and the Steering Committee and 4) the World Championship organization. Find the discussions' summary here.

They were many to attend the meeting on tuesday, 23rd of august: Caroline Chaverot (FRA), Cyril Cointre (FRA), Uxue Fraile (ESP), Lizzy Hawker (GBR) and Richard Bull representing Mira Raï (NEP) in the company of some ITRA members including José Carlos-Santos (POR) - Vice-President, Janet Ng (HKG) - Treasurer, Matthias Proud (FRA) and Meghan Detourbet (FRA) in charge of the international top athletes commission coordination with Nathalie Mauclair. A first roundtable was done before going further on the health thematic and ending on the World Championships topic. This meeting underlined the need to discuss more often, which will be done soon by mail where they will be taking over. Find the deliberations' summary here.

Press Conference on the 2016, 2017 and 2018's World Championships

The ITRA press conference regarding the World Championships took place on friday, 26th of august. Michel Poletti (FRA) - President of the ITRA - and also the Vice-Presidents José Carlos-Santos (POR), Enrico Pollini (ITA), Pierre Sallet (FRA) and the IAU Vice-President - Liesbeth Jansen (HOL) were attending the meeting. 

The first part was devoted to the co-organization between the IAU and the ITRA and a presentation of the upcoming world championships : 2016 in Gerês - Portugal, 2017 in Badia Prataglia - Italy and 2018 on the Penyagolosa route - Spain following by a question-and-answer session.

Finally, a second part was devoted to the presentation of the Health Policy set up on the World Championships since 2015 in Annecy.

Find the whole presentation here.

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