Sports scientists prepare Bryn Hughes for Arctic challenge success
Bryn and his friend Rob Stapleton joined a team of 48 extreme marathon runners for the sub-zero temperature challenge, which they successfully completed yesterday. Bryn finished 26th in a time of 11:06.59 and Rob was 28th with a time of 11:34.06.
The duo have been raising funds for The PC Nicola Hughes Memorial Fund, which Bryn set up to help children who have lost a close family member as a result of violent crime. His daughter Nicola was killed with her colleague Fiona Bone in 2012 when they were attacked by a gunman after responding to a 999 call.
Experts from the University's Centre for Sports Performance provided Bryn and Rob with a range of sports science advice including physiological support, nutritional advice as well as helping with their psychological preparation.
The team worked with the pair in the University's Environmental Chamber to help reduce the perceived stress of exercising in freezing temperatures which could have reached as low as -37 oC.
Sports scientist, Dr Ben Jones, commented: "The facilities and staff at Leeds Met allowed us to prepare Bryn and Rob for the North Pole Marathon. After initially meeting with them, our primary aim was to establish their health status before they undertook such a challenge.
"The environmental chamber allowed us to recreate the physiological challenges of running in -30oC, which informed specific clothing, pacing, fuelling and the hydration strategies for the race. Fellow sport scientist Dr Lauren Duckworth and I worked closely with Bryn and Rob to make sure there were no surprises once they got to the North Pole.
"This was a great project to be involved in, not only to work with some great competitors undertaking a very difficult challenge for a great cause, but also to work with such an enthused and knowledgeable group of staff and students in the multidisciplinary support team."
The support team consisted of Senior Lecturers in Sport and Exercise Physiology Costas Tsakirides and Dr Michelle Mellis, who carried out exercising electrocardiograms (ECG) on Bryn and Rob, while Sports Science Support Officer, Amy Brightmore, and MSc Sport and Exercise Physiology intern Josh Rowe performed baseline fitness tests. This enabled the team to feed back to Bryn and Rob in terms of where they were at physically, as well as informing the remainder of their training.
In addition Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Physiology Dr Matt Barlow carried out Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans to determine their body composition, which helped provide useful information for Principal Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Nutrition Louise Sutton, Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Nutrition Dr Lauren Duckworth and MSc Sport and Exercise Nutrition student Suzanne Laycock, who then evaluated their current dietary intake and provided individualised nutrition guidance. Trainee Sport and Exercise Psychologists Ross Shand and Charlotte Hinchliffe also provided support in the form of reflective diaries to aid their preparation. Finally, Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Biomechanics Dr Sarah Breen explored the effects of the cold on biomechanical components, including evaluations of gait analysis and power using high speed cameras and the force plate.
To donate visit: https://www.justgiving.com/nicolahughesmemorialfund