Runner's diarrhea

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Runner's diarrhea, often termed as a condition that often affects distance runners, is characterized by an urgent need for a bowel movement mid-run. Whether the stool can be considered diarrhea, or a clinical expression of ischemic enteropathy, is under debate.[1]


The causes of runner's diarrhea remain under debate, although several theories include ischemia and mechanical trauma. The reduced incidence of diarrhea in cyclists would indicate the latter.[2]

Treatment and prevention[edit]

Runner's diarrhea will normally clear up by itself from several hours to two days after running. As with all forms of diarrhea, replacement of fluids and electrolytes is advisable. Methods to prevent runner's diarrhea will vary between individuals, although it is advisable to consider examining the pre-running diet to determine potential trigger foods.[citation needed]

Notable cases[edit]

During the 1998 London Marathon, winner Catherina McKiernan suffered from stomach cramps, a common euphemism for runner's diarrhea.[3]

At the 2005 London Marathon, winner Paula Radcliffe, in desperate need for a toilet break during the race, stopped by the road in full view of the crowd and live TV cameras and passed diarrhea. She later blamed a meal of grilled salmon from the previous night for the incident.[4]

At Rio 2016 Olympic Games, walk race world record holder Yohann Diniz defecated during the 50km competition, when he was near the 15 km mark. He also passed out, near the 30 km mark. Nevertheless, he finished the race at the 8th position.[5]


  1. ^ Bounous, G; McArdle, AH (1990). "Marathon runners: the intestinal handicap". Medical Hypotheses. 33 (4): 261–4. PMID 2090928. doi:10.1016/0306-9877(90)90139-6. 
  2. ^ Halvorsen, F A; Lyng, J; Glomsaker, T; Ritland, S (1990). "Gastrointestinal disturbances in marathon runners". British Journal of Sports Medicine. 24 (4): 266–8. PMC 1478906Freely accessible. PMID 2097027. doi:10.1136/bjsm.24.4.266. 
  3. ^ "Toilet Training". 
  4. ^ Innes, John (April 18, 2005). "Relief all round after Paula pauses on road to glory". The Scotsman. 
  5. ^ "Race Walk World Record Holder Shits Self, Passes Out, Finishes 8th | VICE Sports". Retrieved 2016-08-19.