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PURPOSE: The effect of maximal oxygen consumption was assessed for its effect on race performance during a mountain ultra-marathon. It was hypothesized that aerobic capacity and hill climbing times would be the best predictors of performance in this race. METHODS: Eight healthy males and one female were recruited to participate in this study. Their average height was 1.7 ± 5.5m, weight 71.0 ± 8.3 kg, Body mass index (BMI) of 22.4 ± 2.1 kg/m2, and age of 49.7 ± 8.2 years. The office of research ethics at SFU approved the study. Their performance time was examined during a ~50 km mountain marathon. Each volunteer’s maximal oxygen consumption (VO2MAX) was assessed on a treadmill during an incremental exercise test from rest to the point of exhaustion. Race finishing times were assessed using linear and multiple linear regression with the independent variables in these model including VO2MAX, mean VO2 during the race, BMI and hill ascent times. RESULTS: The mean participant VO2MAX was 62.7±5.3 mL min-1 kg-1 ofbody mass, with a range of 58.0-72.2 mL min-1 kg-1. The results indicated that VO2MAX was the best predictor of race performance in this mountain marathon (R2=0.56, F= 8.98, P=0.02). The mean VO2 maintained during the race was 45.2±6.3 mL min-1 kg-1 and it was also a significant predictor of performance (R2=0.54, F=8.16, P=0.02). Hill ascent times of the three largest climbs, during the early, middle and late stages of the race, also significantly predicted finishing time (p<0.05). Multiple regression showed that a combination of both ascent time of the third and last main climb of the race and VO2MAX gave the best predicted race performance (R2=0.87, F=20.220, P=0.002). CONCLUSION: In conclusion, the results support maximal oxygen consumption and hill climbing performance are both valuable predictors of performance in long distance mountain ultra-marathons.

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