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WEAR COMPRESSION… FINISH YOUR UTMB® RACE!

UTMB® is a mythical race and those who take the challenge every year since 2004 are unanimous to admit that it’s a unique experience at the heart of the Mont Blanc massif. An adventure that requires stamina and passion to be able to cross the mental and physical limits and reach the finish line. The statistics to date show that 54% of the UTMB® participants end their race. To participate in the best conditions, honour this mythical race (170 km, 10500 m d+ and d- to accomplish in less than 46 h 30 minutes) and be on the safe side, trail runners have to prepare themselves rigorously.

Many studies have already put light on the fact that compression-embedded garment helps in improving aerodynamics. At Compressport® we believe that compression clothing, designed specifically for trail runners, meet their expectations : shock absorption, limited risks of injury, lesser muscular damage, etc. We have put the theory to the test.

To Be or Not To Be a UTMB® Finisher, that`s the question!

A study has been carried on the last four UTMB® editions with three main objectives:

==> To Confirm who finished their race and who did not

==> To Determine if the finishers wore compressive gear

==> To Establish if the non-finishers wore compressive gear or not.

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The various rankings established on the UTMB® during the past four years, helped determine who finished and who did not finish their race. Then, confronted with photo-gallery of the participants  on the start line, we were able to confirm who wore compressive socks and sleeves and who did not. Thanks to their respective rank numbers we could identify the photos of each participant. Of the 10 008 participants taking part in the last four UTMB® editions, only    9 828 were subjects of the study, the other 180 having not been photographed.

And the answer definitely lies in Compression…

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The ultimate goal of the study was to confirm the assumption that those who favoured compressive clothing such as compressive socks and sleeves finished their UTMB® race much easily than those who did not. The results seem to be confirming the said assumption. 52,9% of the 6354 identified finishers wore elastic compressive gear.

46,2% of UTMB® trail runners dropped out before the finish line. Almost half of them had their compressive gear on.

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After each UTMB® event, a linear relationship was established between the use of compressive clothing and the number of participants who made it to the finish line (p < 0,05).

The more compression was worn, the more those who finished their runs.

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Compression Clothing impacts on Performance

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This study puts light on the fact that elastic compression (full socks, sleeves) was more used by UTMB® finishers (52,9%) than by those who gave up prematurely (46,2%). Moreover, the linear relationship between the use of elastic compression and the number of participants finishing the race confirms even further this assumption. To conclude, it turns out that compression can help trail runners complete such long-distance contest as the UTMB®.


This article is co-written by Arnaud MENETRIER and Anthony BUCHE.

Arnaud MENETRIER is our Scientist Manager. Doctor in Sports Psychology, he collaborates with Compressport® and strives to always bring innovation and highly technical and performing compressive apparel to our athletes. He has contributed to many studies on the effect of compression in sports. 

Sources:  Engel FA, Holmberg HC, Sperlich B. Is there evidence that runners can benefit from wearing compression clothing? Sports Med 2017:46(12):1939-52 ; Borràs X, Balius X, Drobnic F, Til L, Turmo A. Effects of lower body compression garment in muscle oscillation and tissular injury during intense exercise. Portuguese J Sport Sci 2011;11(2): 685-8 ;  Pirard M, Gellaerts J, Muzic J, Peseux M, Ménétrier A. Dose-effect response of elastic compression on stride length. Sci Sports 2016;31(6):355-8 ; Schubert AG, Kempf J, Heiderscheit BC. Influence of stride frequency and length on running mechanics: a systematic review. Sports Health 2014;6(3):210-7.5 ; Ménétrier A. The use of elastic compression to decrease the risk of injuries. Br J Sports Med 2014 ; 48:638

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