Adelaide 6 Day Ultramarathon 2018 - The Blister Perspective

Thorndon Park, South Australia

 Adelaide 6-Day / 72 Hour / 48 Hour Ultramarathon: Sept 30th - Oct 7th 2018

The Track

The scenic Thorndon Park is a hive of activity every day with people and wildlife. Koalas were spotted and I heard tales of an angry duck that chased runners along. The running surface is cement, part of it is paved, and the loop is 1.4255km, with 10m elevation per lap. A beautiful track that is shaded in parts but one that by all accounts is tough on the feet and rest of the body.

You can find about more about the race and venue here.

Winning 6 Day Distances

  • Darren Linney 800.959km

  • Anabelle Hepworth 742.803km

Blisters

There were many. The majority were:

  • Pinch blisters of the small toes

  • Heel edge blisters (lateral, posterior and medial)

Here are a couple we lanced

Watch these videos and notice my technique. This is not a painful procedure and anyone can do it.

A Mixture Of Preparedness

Blisters are hands-down always the biggest injury in every ultramarathon event. I don’t say that from personal experience (Adelaide 2014, Canberra 2015, Birdsville 2016, Perth 2017, Adelaide 2018); research proves it.

So I’m always interested to see how prepared runners are for blisters.

  • Like most races I’ve been to, there’s always one or two who forgot to trim their toenails.

  • There were a lot of callouses. I’m not sure if you know this but callouses and blisters are caused by the same forces. So anywhere you have a callous is where you’re VERY likely to get a blister. Here’s one we lanced (hope you like the dramatic music - for an equally dramatic blister). Again, a painless procedure.

  • A few runners had blister kits (or at least a small collection of their preferred blister gear) which was great to see. Many didn’t though - not even the very basics of tape, bandaids and antiseptic. And that’s to mention nothing of more helpful blister kit components like:
    - Something to lance blisters with - like a scalpel blade or hypodermic needle
    - Different sized island dressings for different blister sizes and locations
    - Engo patches to reduce friction levels
    - Gel toe sleeves, felt for donut pads or other paddings to reduce pressure


Rebecca’s Blister Tips From Adelaide 2018

#1 The most likely spot you’ll get a blister is where you’ve had one before

Expect this blister at your next event and have your chosen prevention in place before you even start. If you’re not sure what the best prevention is for your blister, search this blog. Or take the mini-course, pick your blister location and you’ll arrive straight to the answer.

 
 Your most likely blister

Your most likely blister

 

#2 When it comes to callouses - less is more

While you don’t need to take it down to “as smooth as a baby’s bottom”, a big chunky callous on your heel, big toe, bunion or ball of your foot is not protective of blisters. You’ll just get a deep blister beneath it which is even more difficult to treat. File your callouses down with an emery board or see a podiatrist who can do it for you.

#3 The sooner you get to a blister hotspot the better

Once you’ve got a blister, you’ve kind of missed the boat.

Nip it in the bud! The reason most people don’t nip it in the bud is they don’t have anything on hand to nip it in the bud with. You need a bit of a plan and you need a bit of gear. Otherwise, all you end up doing is running / walking / sitting around wondering what you should do for your blisters next, or coming to the realisation that you can’t do anything even if you wanted to because you don’t have anything to do it with!

#4 Most blisters occurred between the 24 and 48 hour mark (and they were well and truly formed by then)

If you can get your feet to the 24 hour mark blister free, you’ve got a good chance of remaining that way for the rest of the event.

  • That’s why it’s important to stop sooner rather than later to deal with the situation.

  • That’s why it’s so important to expect to get any blister you’ve ever had before and have your prevention in place before you even start running.

#5 Learn how to deal with your own blisters

While it’s great to have a blister medic on site, you’re not always going to have that luxury. Blisters are always going to be highly likely. And the earlier you get to them, the better. Not only can blisters bring you to your knees and force you to pull out, they’ll chew up valuable time and mental effort just thinking about them and looking after them. At the very least, read these two articles and learn how to prevent:

Learning how to PREVENT and TREAT blisters just makes sense. If you want to be more proactive about your blister situation don’t know where to start, I can definitely help:

  • Knowledge - This is the closest thing to having me as your personal blister medic.

  • Gear - Take a look at the blister kits in particular. Either buy one ready-made or DIY based on what you see here.

If you take me up on one or both of these and there’s something you don’t understand, something’s not working for you, you don’t know how to use something, or you think I’m talking s#%t, call me out on it! Let me know! Get in touch and we’ll troubleshoot the issue to its fullest. I’m passionate about YOU managing YOUR foot blisters better.

Thanks for having me Ben, Michelle and all the competitors. Hope to see you next year :)


 Rebecca Rushton BSc (Pod) - BlisterPod

Rebecca Rushton BSc (Pod) - BlisterPod

Written by Rebecca Rushton

Rebecca is an Australian podiatrist with 25 years experience. She has spent a lifetime dealing with her own blister prone feet in her sporting and everyday life. Rebecca specialises in helping athletes and sports medicine professionals figure out how to manage foot blisters with ease. And for kicks, she enjoys providing blister care at multiday ultramarathon events.