Adelaide 6 Day Race 2018 Blisters (& 2019 Update)

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The 2018 Adelaide 6 day race was held at the scenic Thorndon Park. 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 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.

Adelaide 6 Day Race

Winning 6 Day Distances

  • Darren Linney 800.959km
  • Anabelle Hepworth 742.803km

Adelaide 6 day race 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. 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. Even thick toenails. Weird.
  • 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 at the Adelaide 6 day race 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 at the shoe / insole surface
    • Gel toe sleeves, felt for donut pads or other paddings to reduce pressure

Rebecca’s blister tips from the 2018 Adelaide Ultra

#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 join my program, pick your blister location and you’ll have your answer straight away.

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.

Either way, wherever you get callouses, expect blisters here. So take preemptive action before you even get on the track.

#3 The sooner you get to a hot-spot 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 hour 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 dampen your experience, they’ll chew up valuable time and mental effort looking after them and trying not to worry about them.

To a degree, treating blisters is like shutting the gate once the horse has bolted. While it's pretty easy to make a blister at the back of your heel, under your arch or under the ball of your foot feel better, it's not so easy with edge blisters. And with some toe blisters, once you've got that blister, my hands are tied - there's not a lot of relief I'm going to be able to give you.

* A Message To 2019 Runners

My challenge to you:

Learn one new thing about preventing that blister you're most likely to get.

My aim in coming to Adelaide is simple - I want you to learn how to prevent your foot blisters better. The problem is, once you've got a blister, you just want it fixed. You don't really want to think about it or talk about it. And you're not interested in hearing about prevention. I've been to enough races now to know this now.

What's the answer? Learn something new about predicting and preventing your blisters before you even get to the track. If you can't find anything new or you're not sure where to start, the best way I know for you to achieve this is with my course. For less than a single podiatry consultation fee, you'll get... well just read this to see what you get.

The best thing is:

  • You'll learn stuff about preventing (and treating) your blisters that you can use for this race and for evermore after that.
  • You'll get less blisters in Adelaide and have a more enjoyable run.
  • I'll be super-impressed with your proactivity.
  • I'll feel it was worth my while catching 4 planes and taking 10 days off work to come and help with your blisters.

If this strikes a chord with you and you want my course, email me to confirm you've signed up for any of the Thorndon Park events in Sept/Oct 2019 and I'll send you a 50% discount code.

I look forward to seeing you all there!

Post-race wrap-up 2019

Lessons Learned from Adelaide 2019

Read the following blog posts that come directly from Adelaide 6 day race 2019 experiences and photos:

#1 Pre-Race Toenail Care

#2 Toe-props For Toenail Blisters

#3 Bring A Weightbearing Blister Back From The Brink

#4 Solution To Pinch Blisters With Toe-Socks

#5 When Orthotics Cause Posterior Heel Edge Blisters

#6 Taking Blister Action Sooner Rather Than Later

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