June 29, 2011
Running in the heat

    Photo: The National Guard/Flickr

Want to PR? Grab an Ice Pack

Runners go farther with cool necks

A new study in the Journal of Athletic Training has found that wearing cooling neck collars allows athletes to run significantly farther in hot conditions than normal. Researchers from Roehampton University in London theorize that cooling the neck keeps the brain from registering a high core temperature, allowing runners to continue exercising even as they near exhaustion. But because the ice packs affect only the brain's perception of temperature—not the runners' core itself—the practice may subvert a self-protective response and put athletes in danger of heat stroke. Research popularized by South African physiologist Tim Noakes has shown that the body will shut down if core temperatures exceed 104 degrees Fahrenheit, before brain damage or heat stroke set in.

Read more at The New York Times


ZIon National Park

ZIon National Park     Photo: Frank Kovalchek/Flickr

Study: National Parks in Trouble

Pollution, wildlife decline threaten parks

A study released yesterday by the non-profit National Parks Conservation Association paints a grim picture of the national park system's future. Pulling together ten years of research, the group found that parks' natural and cultural resources are in decline from a "host of new and long-standing threats," including the disappearance of top predators, increased air pollution, and inadequate convervation budgets. Among the report's more disturbing findings were ones noting that more than half the parks studied had marginal or poor air quality and that 95 percent had lost at least one wildlife or plant species. The NPCA is now calling on President Obama to issue an executive order committing federal resources to improve the park system ahead of its centennial in 2016. "It’s like going to the doctor and being told you’ve got a serious illness but that there’s a proven cure," NPCA President Tom Kiernan told MSNBC. "Now is the time to apply it."

Read more at Gadling


Death Race

Death Race     Photo: Tim Soter

Death Race Defeats Marathoner

With $100K on the line, man throws in towel

Hobie Call arrived at last weekend's Death Race in Pittsfield, Vermont with a win streak and $100,000 in prize money on the line. He left empty handed with his streak broken. Call, a 2:16 marathon runner and Olympic Trials qualifier, had won six titles in the Spartan Race series, a nationwide circuit of races that last 24 hours or more and put competitors through gruling and often arbitrary challenges, like diving for a bag of pennies in a muddy pond or piling bricks. Ealier this year, series founder Joe De Sena offered $100,000 to anybody who could win all 14 Spartan Races in 2011. But De Sena hadn't anticipated Call, and, worried that the 34 year old might actually complete the series, had begun recruiting former special forces soldiers to disrupt the win streak. Pittsfield's Death Race, which Mark Jenkins wrote about for Outside last year, would have been Call's seventh victory, but he was foreced to drop out.  "[T]he cold factor is what got me," Call said. Defending champ Joe Decker won again. Call is from South Jordan, Utah and installs heating and cooling units for a living. A father of five, he sold his television to fund the Spartan win streak.

Read more at The Salt Lake Tribune


stand up paddle boarder

stand up paddle boarder     Photo: Dave Young/Flickr

Hawaii to Kauai on Stand-Up Paddleboard

Man crosses 300 miles alone, unsupported

Bart de Zwart, a 41-year-old surf shop owner from Maui, completed the first-ever stand-up paddleboard crossing between Hawaii and Kauai on Sunday. The 300-mile journey, which de Zwart completed alone and unsupported, took five days and nights and six months of planning. De Zwart made the trip on a 14-foot paddleboard and required an estimated 215,000 paddlestrokes. “The paddling is the easy part,” he old the Garden Island newspaper. “The hard part is being by yourself, eating, sleeping and how to get around the islands in the wind and swells.” de Zwart suffered from swollen, infected blisters on his feet and lost six pounds, but otherwise said he felt fine.

Read more at the Garden Island


Hypodermic Needle

Hypodermic Needle     Photo: Steven Depolo/Flickr

Doping Lab Loses Accreditation

Can athletes trust testing facilities?

The World Anti-Doping Agency has revoked the accreditation of a Turkish drug testing facility after it erroneously charged a WNBA player with a positive test for a banned substance. The lab, in Ankara, had previously been suspended in 2009 and is now banned from carrying out doping tests. The suspension follows a similar case at a lab in Malaysia, which lost its certificate earlier this year after it submitted false positives for three soccer players and a runner. In combination, the incidents raise serious questions about the legimacy of the World Anti-Doping's testing regimine, which falls outside normal criminal justice proceedings, but has the power to ban athletes for using performance-enhancing drugs and leaves athletes with little recourse in the event of a false positive. Formed in 1999, WADA polices what are known as Olympic-movement sports, from cycling and running to cricket and badminton.

Read more at ESPN