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Biomechanical analysis of the medalists in the 10,000 metres at the 2007 World Championships in Athletics

The aim of this study was to examine the biomechanical characteristics of the running motion of some of the world’s top distance runners by observing the top three placers in the men’s 10,000m final at the 2007 IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Osaka. The athletes studied showed few fatigue symptoms and only slight changes in average running velocity and running motion throughout most of the race. The winner, Bekele (ETH) showed greater mean power and lower effectiveness of mechanical energy utilisation to running velocity, however he increased this effectiveness at the end of the race. There were differences in the maximum, minimum and range of the thigh and shank angle between the runners studied and these did not vary greatly throughout the race. The maximum thigh angular velocity of the recovery leg, which might be critical motion for distance runners, increased in Bekele. To be successful at the highest level a distance runner must be able to maintain high running velocity throughout the race and the sprint much like a sprinter. The authors conclude that is therefore necessary not only to utilise mechanical energy efficiently but to have the capacity to generate greater mechanical energy when necessary.