World champion marathon runner Gotytom Gebralase described herself as “honoured to visit” LJMU as she took part this week in a unique study of endurance sport.
The 28-year-old, who set a best time of 2:18:11 at the World Championships in Oregon last year, spent several hours on the treadmill at Bryom St as part of a study designed to optimise fuelling for elite athletes.
The Ethiopian is the latest high-profile athlete to visit the lab including boxers, footballers, triathletes and track and road runners.
Gotytom’s data will feed into a study run by Dr Jamie Pugh to characterise the physiology and metabolism of male and female runners, in particular to evaluate the role of carbohydrate availability in supporting marathon performances.
Her support team said the sport science offered by LJMU would help them in their nutritional planning.
Gotytom was visiting the UK as part of her ongoing partnership with Science in Sport, the world’s leading sports nutrition company, which has a longstanding partnership with LJMU and has funded post-doctoral, PhD and MSc student’s research projects.
Professor James Morton said: “We were delighted to host Gotytom and her team. Given our relationship with Science in Sport, the stars aligned with timing and Gotytom volunteered to take part in Jamie’s research study.
“This type of opportunity showcases our unique ability as an institution in that our links to industry, professional sport and our international research profiles ensures that the very best athletes in the world are happy to visit the home of sport science.
“The late Professor Tom Reilly was an excellent runner and I am certain that Tom would be extremely proud that we are still supporting world class endurance runners”.
Dr Jamie Pugh who is leading the study said: “It was a privilege to have an athlete of Gotytom’s calibre in our labs. The majority of athletes we’ve studied so far have been British so to extend our sample to include a world champion from a country with such running heritage as Ethiopia was a brilliant experience. Not only is she an outstanding athlete, but Gotytom and her team, coach Hagi and nutritionist Kidst were great to work with, even helping out in the testing process”.
And he added: “To see a world champion in action is amazing. She was running so effortlessly at 18.5km/h. We’re used to seeing very good club runners at that speed looking like they’re absolutely sprinting but she was so graceful.”