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A continued study: The Yukon Arctic Ultra 2017

The Yukon Arctic Ultra 2017 has started in Whitehorse – Yukon on February 05th at 10:30 a.m. pacific time!
For the third time, we are investigating physiological changes in participants of the Yukon Arctic Ultra 430 mi runner-category. This time, the team from the “Center for Space Medicine Berlin” consists of Dr. Mathias Steinach and Doctoral Candidate Adriane Schalt. All baseline-measurements in Whitehorse went fine. A total of n=10 enthusiastic participants were recruited for this study. The weather at the start this time was at a pleasant -27°C. The study is again joined by Dr. Robert Coker and his team, from the “University of Alaska” as he provides equipment to also allow blood-analysis – again a great example for our international scientific collaboration, even under such extreme environmental conditions. Needless to say that we want to express our gratitude to the organizers, volunteers and of course our athletes of the Yukon Arctic Ultra 2017!

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The “Science-Squad”: Adriane Schalt (Center for Space Medicine Berlin), Sheri and Robert Coker and Michelle Johannsen (all three University of Alaska Fairbanks) and Mathias Steinach (Center for Space Medicine Berlin).

 

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Again, the “Yukon Arctic Ultra” traditionally follows the “Yukon Quest” dog-sled-race.

 

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Athletes have to prove their capabilities to bivvy quickly…

 

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… and to make a fire during a pre-race outdoor testing-course.

 

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Baseline-measurements in Whitehorse.

 

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Collecting blood from Yukon Arctic Ultra “Veteran” Enrico Ghidoni.

 

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Pre-race-dinner the night before the race.

 

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The participants of this years’ Yukon Arctic Ultra study.

 

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Start of the 2017 Yukon Arctic Ultra in Whitehorse YK, February 5th 2017.

 

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Processing the blood-samples.

 

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Checking the status of the athletes as the race progresses.

 

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Checkpoint in Braeburn (100 mi).

 

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Checkpoint in Carmacks (173 mi).

 

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Always (!) plug in your vehicle if you want it to start the next day. Temperatures in Carmacks have now dropped to a mere -37°C (Wed, Feb 8th).

 

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Study-participant Enrico Ghidoni as he just arrives at the Carmacks-checkpoint (Wed, Feb 8th, 12:15 p.m.).

 

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As always: stunningly gorgeous landscape in the Yukon!

 

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…but very cold… (notice the ice resulting from frozen breath in just an one-hour-hike)…

 

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…really very cold…
Greetings from the Yukon!

 

MEASUREMENTS AT 100KM-24HR-HIKE “Mammutmarsch 2016”

Like last year, we again conducted measurements and collected blood samples during this year’s 100km-24hr-Hike (the “Mammutmarsch”) May 14th-15th, 2016. Although the race was well organized, the race had to be abandoned around 04:30 a.m. since a considerable number of runners appeared to be exhausted and in some cases not well prepared for this year’s event.

Nevertheless, we still were able to conduct our measurements with the majority of our 20 study participants at Checkpoint 44 km, and with a few of our study participants even at Checkpoint 74 km, and thus gathered valuable data.

We would like to express our gratitude to the organizers, assisting volunteers, and of course our study participants!

Checkpoint at 44 km.

Checkpoint at 44 km

Study participant at our "Field-Lab"

Study participant at our “Field-Lab”

Preparation of taking blood samples

Taking blood samples at the “Field Lab” at Checkpoint 44 km

Good veins - valuable blood

Good veins – valuable blood

Measurements at 100km-24hr-Hike

Physiological measurements were conducted and blood samples were collected during a 100km-24hr-Hike May 9th-10th, 2015. Dr. Steinach and doctoral candidate Marc Jörres themselves received little sleep when travelling along with the 20 participants to conduct the measurements and collect blood samples. Even though this years conditions were rather difficult (very stormy weather and chilly temperatures), 13 participants reached the 70km and 7 reached the finish after 100km – which is very good since less than 1/8th reached the 100km-finish of a starting field of over 800 athletes.

100km-Hike - baseline measurements.

100km-Hike – baseline measurements at the Center for Space Medicine.

Collecting blood at 30km-Checkpoint.

Collecting blood at 30km-Checkpoint.

...and again at 70km-Checkpoint.

…and again at 70km-Checkpoint.

The reward after a hard days (and nights) work: the multitude of blood samples.

The reward after a hard days (and nights) work: the multitude of blood samples.

Yukon Arctic Ultra 2015: final entry on measurements and Hypoxia-meeting

The Yukon Arctic Ultra 2015 ended a few weeks ago. Study participant Hanno Heiss reached the finish in Dawson (430mi) after just 9 days and 9 hours! In total, complete measurement-sets from four participants and in part from additional two could be collected – which is good considering the extremely harsh conditions during the beginning of this years race. Evaluation of data will be conducted during the next days and weeks. After the Yukon Arctic Ultra was over Dr. Steinach went to Lake Louise near Calgary and attended the “Hypoxia-Meeting” there where he also introduced the study-groups new book “Human Physiology in Extreme Environments”.

The finish in Dawson City.

The 430-mile finish in Dawson City.

The "Downtown Hotel" in vintage architectural style.

The “Downtown Hotel” in vintage Dawson City architectural style.

Dr. Steinach and Enrico Ghidoni: multi-time winner of the Yukon Arctic Ultra.

Dr. Steinach and Enrico Ghidoni: multi-time winner of the Yukon Arctic Ultra.

Study participant Hanno finishing first in the foot-category (left).

Study participant Hanno Heiss finishing first in the foot-category (left).

Hanno hands over his medal to a humbled Dr. Steinach in appreciation for his medical advice during the race.

Hanno hands over his medal to a humbled Dr. Steinach in appreciation for his medical advice and treatment during the race.

Dr. Steinach being interviewed during the race by a team from Al-Jazeera Canada.

Dr. Steinach being interviewed during the race by a team from Al-Jazeera Canada. A short excerpt of the interview can be found here.

Dr. Steinach in scenic Lake Louise, Alberta.

Dr. Steinach in scenic Lake Louise, Alberta.

The Hypoxia-meeting in Lake Louise 2015.

The Hypoxia-meeting in Lake Louise 2015.

The study-groups recently published book at the Hypoxia-meeting.

The study-group’s recently published book at the Hypoxia-meeting.

Yukon Arctic Ultra 2015: ongoing measurements cont’d (4)

The final stage of this years Yukon Arctic Ultra is being reached as the runners are on their way to the last checkpoints before the finish in Dawson City. Although a few more runners had to scratch it was possible to perform measurements and obtain blood samples at 230 mi and 300 mi checkpoints respectively. Now three runners remain on their way to Dawson – the 430 mile finish.

Hanno leaves Pelly Crossing for his final stage.

Hanno leaves Pelly Crossing for his final stage.

Trail-markers are continuously checked and replaced by skidoo-drivers - photographer Yann is happy to fill in.

Trail-markers are continuously checked and replaced by skidoo-drivers – photographer Yann is happy to fill in.

Jörn trying to find order in the haphazardly scattered equipment.

Jörn trying to find order in the haphazardly scattered equipment.

Desperate circumstances sometimes require desperate - coffee-cups.

Desperate circumstances sometimes require desperate – coffee-cups.

Pipetting the precious serum-samples.

Pipetting the precious serum-samples.

The final stretch towards Dawson City.

The final stretch towards Dawson City.