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Care of the endurance athlete: promotion, perception, performance and professionalism
  1. Chad Asplund1,
  2. Cindy J Chang2
  1. 1Department of Family Medicine, Eisenhower Army Medical Center, Fort Gordon, Georgia, USA
  2. 2President, American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, Family Medicine/Sports Medicine Specialist, Consultant and Team Physician, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA.
  1. Correspondence to Chad Asplund, Department of Family Medicine, Eisenhower Army Medical Center, 300 Hospital Drive, Fort Gordon, Georgia 30905, USA; chad.asplund{at}

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“…we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character…” Romans 5: 3–4


Promoting fitness and keeping people active is a major focus of sports medicine professionals. Regular exercise reduces the incidence of, and prevents, many diseases and improves quality of life across the lifespan.1,,3 The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) is an organisation of primary care sports medicine physicians that is dedicated to promoting safe participation in regular exercise for all people.

Phiddipides may have been the first true endurance athlete, running several hundred miles to relay news during the Persian/Greek War 2500 years ago. Following the Athenian victory at the Battle of Marathon, he ran 26 miles to announce the victory and upon completion of his run, died. From this tragedy, the marathon running event was born.

As more and more people complete marathons, the public mystique of the marathon as a way to differentiate oneself from ‘normal’ athletes is wearing off, and endurance athletes are pushing the envelope farther and longer in a quest for greatness. …

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