There’s a method to the madness in running a 250km marathon in the middle of one of the world’s harshest deserts and professional sportsman and qualified physiotherapist, Gavin Manoharan, breaks down the science behind this.
The 250km marathon in question is being held in the Kimberley desert and is organised by RacingthePlanet – an international event that takes place in culturally rich locations around the world in aid of charity.
While for some people even an uphill walk can be daunting, Director of Etax Accountants, Harvard graduate and professional singer, Scott Griffin, is currently running across the Kimberlies to raise money for The Australian Voices – one of Australia’s leading vocal ensembles that promotes local Australian music.
Manoharan said while the human body was designed to run and could achieve 250km in six days, running under the Australian desert sun was no easy task and would put enormous strain on the human body.
“To put it into perspective, a marathon is 42 km and elite runners train approximately six days a week for this distance. A 250 km will have to be broken down in a few days,” he said.
Manoharan also said the muscles and joints of runners undertaking 250km endure repetitive trauma which places them at risk of injury.
Having assessed and treated many long distance runners who train on flat surfaces, Manoharan said this was in direct contrast to in the Kimberley desert where the terrain is not kind at the best of times.
“Running in the desert will further increase the likelihood of injuries such as ankle sprains due to the unstable nature of the surface,” he said.
The harsh Australian outback has already seen some competitors pull out of the race, however, Griffin is still running.
The demanding physical training and impact on the human body in competitive sport is familiar to Manoharan who held the Queensland state record for open triple jump from 2004 to 2007.
For runners participating in RacingthePlanet, Manoharan said the recovery process would depend on a number of factors.
“Hydration is critical. When rehydrating after the run, use a sports drink, which has salts and sugars in it to replenish your system.”
Manoharan said if possible, runners should weigh themselves before and after the run to gauge how much water they should drink.
“Drink enough fluid until your weight is back to normal and your urine is clear. If you drink too much water, you can flush out essential salts out off the system,” he said.
Manoharan said nutrition was equally as important.
“Carbohydrates will provide glycogen and protein which will help repair muscle tissue.”
He also recommends an ice bath after a day of running.
“Although perhaps not feasible in the Kimberley, ideally, after a day of running, an ice bath is recommended for 10 minutes. When you run for long distances your muscles will be damaged and the natural response of the body is to swell,” he said.
Manoharan said the bulk of injuries he has seen as a result of marathons are overuse injuries, particularly in the lower limb such as shin splints and Achilles and patellar tendon injuries.
Another common area of injury in this event is the low back due to the repetitive nature of running such a distance.
TAV’s Artistic Director Gordon Hamilton said Mr Griffin’s efforts emphasised his passion for Australian music, and would help to give a voice to fellow artists.
“Composers in our country have a special affinity with the landscape, which seems to be ever present on the modern repertoire of Australian composers.”
“Scott, who has been a dedicated singer with The Australian Voices for over ten years now, has ventured to the Kimberley to highlight this growing trend in Australian composition,” he said.
“All donations in connection to Scott's run will help The Australian Voices reach out, both to composers and audiences, and to further this most important mission: to give a voice to our own young artists.”
To donate to Scott’s run visit http://www.theaustralianvoices.com/donate. Donations over $2 are tax deductible.
The Australian Voices
The Australian Voices (TAV) has championed new Australian choral music around the world since 1993. The mission of TAV is to commission, perform, record and promote the music of Australian composers to the highest international artistic standards. They were multiple gold medallists at the Choir Olympics in China and prize-winners at the Choir of the World competition in Wales.
Their new music vividly captures the sound, colours and energy of the Australian continent and its people. The singers come from all over Australia and commit to a rigorous professional schedule of concerts and workshops, both in Australia and overseas each year.
Internationally respected, TAV has performed new Australian music at high-profile international events around the world for over seventeen years (often winning international awards). TAV has criss-crossed the globe participating in major musical events in Hungary, the UK, Malaysia, Poland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Austria, Bosnia Herzegovina, Canada, Belgium, China, Central America, Spain, Taiwan, Korea, The Czech Republic and America.
P: 07 3457 5100