Providing Heat Acclimation Support to the WeirWolf in the lead up to the Tokyo 2020/21 Paralympic Games!

This summer, the University of Brighton’s Environmental Extremes Lab (EEL) was invited to to provide heat acclimation support to Paralympic legend, David Weir CBE, in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, working alongside Dr Richard Burden (English Institute of Sport and St Mary’s University). This post recounts the project that was led by Bill Norton (Lab Technician and EEL Member) as part of his BASES Supervised Experience towards his BASES accreditation.

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EEL Team Mitigate Effects of Severe Heat Stress in 35th Marathon Des Sables…Reflections from the Athletes and Team

The Marathon Des Sables (MdS) is a 250km multi-stage race across the Saharan Desert in searing temperatures, often quoted as the “toughest footrace on the planet”. This year the University of Brighton’s Environmental Extremes Lab (EEL) supported 5 athletes with their preparation for the event which was to be the hottest and reportedly in the Guardian, the most challenging to date. This was also a baptism of fire for our new cohort of MSc Applied Sport Physiology and MSc Applied Exercise Physiology students to develop their practitioner skills, who had only started their degree a few days before. Read on to find out the triumphs and near tragedy from our 5 MDS athletes and some reflections from the EEL Team.  

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Environmental Extremes Lab’s Contribution to Heat Mitigation in Tokyo 2020/21 Olympic and Paralympic Games

So It has been a hell of a last 18 months and it is difficult to process the magnitude of what we have experienced in the wake of the pandemic. However, as we are days away from the opening of the Tokyo 2020 (2021) Olympic Games, as all good practitioners should do, I thought it was worth reflecting on what the Environmental Extremes Lab (EEL)’s contribution has been to helping our athletes, coaches, practitioners, officials, governing bodies and many others along the way, as they step up and face the heat of Tokyo.

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Environmental Extremes Lab Still Going Strong!

What a year! For obvious reasons linked to COVID, it has been over 8 months since our last Environmental Extremes Lab post of our support to the Dhiman Brothers, but we have still been very active behind the scenes in our teaching and research. As we thankfully close the door on 2020, hoping that 2021 will be better, a quick round-up of some of the activities we have been involved in and few tasters of what is to come!

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Dhiman Brothers take on the Jungle Survival Marathon

Over 6 days in the heart of the Belize Jungle, 2 brave athletes were faced with the hardest challenge, both physically and mentally that they had ever had to confront. The Jungle Survival Marathon entailed 6 days of survival training in the jungle followed by a 200km race across similar terrain to eventually escape and reach the final checkpoint – this meant at least 10 hours of running a day! The two athletes brave enough to take on this challenge were the Dhiman brothers, Gary and Steve who courageously took to the challenge after a brotherly rivalry led to a bet – neither of them was going to back down and look where they ended up!

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Environmental Extremes Lab providing help in The Gambia

A unique chance to collaborate between the Environmental Extremes Lab (EEL) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has arisen and given one of our PhD students (Gregor Eichhorn) the chance to travel to West Africa and help with an international research project.

In the context of climate change, much of the world will experience extreme heat events and very little work is being done globally to understand the impact of these on maternal and fetal health. In areas where the options to adapt to the heat exposure are limited, a clearer understanding of the causes of poor birth outcomes as well options of adaptation strategies are sorely needed.  Continue reading

50 Shades Of The Environmental Extremes Lab!

The Environmental Extremes Lab has invested in a new LED lighting system for our environmental chamber to enable our students to embark upon some innovative and fun research investigations around altering perception and how this might influence behavioural thermoregulation and exercise performance.

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MDS News: Environmental Extremes Lab Supports Josie Adams

This year some of our MSc Applied Sport/Exercise Physiology students (Serdar Hussein, Sarah Pickering, Niforissa Musa, Mari-Anne Elder, Adam Crook and Harrison Collier-Bain) helped support Josie Adams, ambassador to the Para-Monte altitude awareness charity that we work closely with, in her preparations for this year’s Marathon des Sables (MDS). As part of the Environmental Extremes Lab Service, led by PhD student Gregor Eichhorn, the MSc students delivered a 4 day heat acclimation package to prepare Josie for the harsh conditions expected in the MDS in Morocco. The MDS is a 250 km gruelling multi-day race across the Saharan desert which appeals to around 1000 competitors from all over the world each year. In 2017, Josie was 7th in the event and 1st British female, so we know she has it in her!

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University of Brighton Students Inform the English Institute of Sport Pre Tokyo 2020

On Wednesday 20th March, eighteen BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science students from the University of Brighton visited Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre to present their dissertation findings to practitioners of the English Institute of Sport (EIS) around optimising performance to the heat expected at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

Co-Head of Physiology at the EIS, Dr Esme Matthew, said,

I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you to you and your team for yesterday (and all the work that went into the poster session beforehand). I can’t tell you how valuable it was, and what a buzz the team got from spending time going round all the posters. The students were brilliant, very professional, and had clearly put a lot of thought and effort into their posters, you must be really proud of them all.

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Memorandum of Understanding between the English Institute of Sport and the University of Brighton up to Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics Benefits our Students

On the 6th November 2018, Dr Neil Maxwell on behalf of the University of Brighton signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the English Institute of Sport (EIS) to signify a statement of intent to collaborate.  This MoU reflects the on-going support the Environmental Extremes Lab Team are providing the EIS and associated national teams as they prepare for the heat of Tokyo at the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

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