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Dr. Mahady and Dr. Manning at the Badwater start


Recievers and GPS units that will be worn by study participants


Angela Ngamkam prepares to swallow a transmitter capsule

Germans, Austrians, and Americans: How Much Energy?

By Greg Minter

Dr. Jim Manning, a professor of Exercise and Movement Sciences at William Patterson University, knew he was onto a good thing when Jody-Lynn Reicher put him in touch with Dr. Holger Finkernagel, fellow professor and past Badwater participant. After lots of email and a visit to a conference in Munich last year where the two were able to meet, they worked out the details of their study.

"We're studying core body temperature and energy expenditure. The runners swallow a transmitter, which looks like a purple cold capsule. It enters the stomach and travels through the G.I. tract. They'll wear a small receiver around their waist which will let us record their internal temperatures every 15 to 20 seconds. We'll be able to track them from the start of the race for the entire run."

The single Austrian and six German runners will also carry Garmin GPS receivers. "Those will let us take their position, elevation, and their walking/running speed along the course. With the data from the transmitters and the GPS units, we'll be able to use a formula that will tell us how many calories they're expending each minute."

Assisted here at the Kiehl's Badwater Ultramarathon by Dr. Pat Mahady ("I'm just here to help him,") the good doctors hope that they'll be able to contribute to the body of literature for sports exercise physiology. "We'd like to describe what's going on with their body temperature and their energy expenditure over such a long race. Our biggest concern is the batteries, how they'll hold up in the heat.