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Dr Patrick Basset

President's letter

In outdoor sports, the last few decades were marked by a quick evolution of endurance racing formats, regardless of the discipline: cycling, running, triathlon, sailing, multi sports adventure racing… In their never-ending quest for new sensations and new challenges in a natural setting, the athletes reach new boundaries.

In outdoor sports, the last few decades were marked by a quick evolution of endurance racing formats, regardless of the discipline: cycling, running, triathlon, sailing, multi sports adventure racing… In their never-ending quest for new sensations and new challenges in a natural setting, the athletes reach new boundaries.

Runners for instance move on to the next stage faster and faster, from 10-km races to semi-marathon, and then to marathon races. More and more discover new horizons in a natural setting through trail running. Distances grow longer and tracks become steeper. Until they reach for ultra-endurance racing, where finishing an Ultra-Trail® race becomes the ultimate goal entailing long months of preparation.

Since 1 November 2015, the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) has started recognizing trail-running as a new kind of athletics. Organizers have to adapt to environmental constraints due to ever more remote running locations in the wilderness. They have to provide a suitable and more professional framework in order to comply with security, health and support standards.

Such an evolution needs to be guided by a better knowledge of the consequences on the health of the athletes who practice this kind of ultra-endurance sports. Dr. Marty Hoffman was one of the very first researchers to explore this aspect, in the context of the 100-mile Western States Endurance Run – the oldest 100 mile foot race in a natural setting. He organized the 2 first editions of the Medicine & Science in Ultra-Endurance Sports Conference in California.
The Medical Committee of the ITRA (International Trail-Running Association), which now gathers research efforts in the field of trail-running worldwide, and its president Dr. Patrick Basset, are delighted to invite you to the third edition of the Medicine & Science in Ultra-Endurance Sports Conference.

This event will be held from 21 to 23 August 2016 in Chamonix, France, concurrently with the UTMB®, one of the most prestigious trail-running races in the world. Over 8,000 athletes will race around the Mont-Blanc on this occasion.
Our goal is to raise public awareness for ultra-endurance sports, to analyze the consequences on the human body, to share the results of medical research, to foster discussions about health issues related to ultra-endurance exercise, and to train and inform healthcare professionals who are involved in this discipline.

Moreover, the Foundation for the Medicine & Science in Ultra-Endurance Sports will officially be launched at this conference. This institution will aim at supporting research efforts and implementing suitable health care policies. All proceeds from the conference would be directed into the Foundation to enhance the education and research mission of the Foundation.

Dr Patrick Basset,
President of the ITRA's Medical Committee

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