A graduation thesis about the Gran Trail delle Orobie

Awareness of one’s own abilities and specific training are necessary characteristics to best tackle endurance races. This is the conclusion, based on scientific criteria, of Dr. Ester Maffeis (in the picture above) in her Sport Sciences graduation thesis, titled “Influence of effort distribution on performance in Ultra Trail races”, with a special emphasis on the Gran Trail delle Orobie (GTO).

“I love mountains and all altitude sports”, explains Ester. However, it was her participation as a volunteer to some endurance races to spur her. “I was able to closely observe the tenacity and motivation of athletes, as well as the spirit of cooperation and friendship among them and with the race organisation throughout the course.”

By calculating average speeds in different race sections, on the uphill and downhill sections, as well as time spent at aid stations, Ester analysed the effort distribution strategies  during competition. Her conclusion, after studying about 30 athletes of different abilities, was that only the strongest athletes can handle fatigue, as they have a higher awareness of their capabilities and a higher confidence in tackling the more technical sections of the course.

 

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