Ultra-athlete sets off on unprecedented test of physical endurance

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Rait Ratasepp.. Source: Jakob Meier

Ultra-athlete Rait Ratasepp set off on yet another one of his physical endurance challenges on Tuesday, attempting to do something that is unprecedented in the world. The goal is to finish 20 marathons in 10 days, all of them under 3 hours.

Ratasepp is not short for confidence ahead of this self-organized challenge, seeing as he finished 20 marathons in 20 days last year with an average time of 2.52,50 and plenty preparations have been made for this year's ultra-challenge.

He has run 4,800 km since last November, to go with his regular triathlon training, and he has finished ten runs of more than a marathon (42 km) over the last six weeks. "The goal of these long training sessions was to teach the body to withstand the burden and shock and to make the brain believe it is achievable. Now I can think during the challenge that I have recently finished a marathon and that just has to be repeated 20 times," Ratasepp said.

The world record holder for double ultra triathlon (7,6 km swimming, 360 km cycling, 84,4 km running) is not just an incredible endurance athlete, he is very specific when it comes to monitoring his health data. Ratasepp will work with SYNLAB for the challenge and has also agreed to allow University of Tartu researchers to monitor his body.

One of the researchers, Jarek Mäestu, said the combination of volume and intensity makes the challenge interesting. "We can presume that a pace of three hours for Rait is one that remains under the aerobic threshold. We will see what happens to his body composition, fat and lean mass, and what mark will that leave on his body's ability to work. Based on SYNLAB's blood parameter analyses, we can also assess different biochemical markers and stress hormones," Mäestu explained.

The start and finish locations of Ratasepp's marathons is at the Terminal Oil service station in Raadi, Tartu. The route is the same for each of the 20 marathons. His first marathon of the challenge took off on Tuesday and the final one will take place on June 3, fans are welcome to finish the marathon with Ratasepp.

For more information on the route and schedule, visit the ultra-athlete's homepage.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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