A Woman Pooped Her Pants Halfway Through a Marathon, but Ran on Because She Wanted To Get a PR

·2-min read

You're half way through a marathon and on for a PR. Out of nowhere you start to feel pangs of pain in your stomach; you need to go to the toilet, but doing so will cost you valuable time. What do you do?

Most people would go to the toilet and then try their best to get a PR, but realise that they might have to wait for another day, and another race, to achieve that. Tamara Torlakson is not most people, however.

Back in 2018, Torlakson was racing the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon. This was her sixth race the 26.2-mile distance, and the previous five had gone without a hitch i.e. Torlakson had been able to clean her bowels long before she hit the road.

But on this day, at mile 13 or 14, she realised she needed to go to the bathroom, and stopping wasn't an option. She didn't want to lose physical or mental momentum, nor did she want to send the message to her body that it was okay to stop again later on in the race.

"I thought, 'I don't know if it's possible to poop while running, but I will try,'" Torlakson said to Insider. "I didn't want one poop to mess it all up."

Torlakson pooped her pants. "It just came out and I felt a lot better," she said.

What's more, she maintained her PR pace with soiled shorts for the next 13-plus miles, eventually crossing the finish line in three hours and seven minutes, a full minute and twenty seconds faster than her previous PR.

And what did she do to celebrate? She hit the medical tent, grabbed some baby wipes and cleaned up.

Why Do Runners Experience 'The Trots'

According to Tamara Duker-Freuman, a dietitian who works in a gastroenterology practice, there are a few reasons why endurance running events can trigger your bowels.

Firstly, "Your organs are jostling around," so that can be a trigger. Secondly, running long distances mean your blood is shuttled away from the digestive tract and toward your legs, which can also lead to temporary incontinence.

Thirdly, what you eat before and during a race matters. A high-fat dinner the night before may increase your toilet time on the day of the race, and you also need to be careful when consuming race day gels with lactose or fructose as their main carbohydrate source (as opposed to straight glucose) because these can be harder to digest.

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