Friday, 11 June 2010


Taperitis is an under-researched condition affecting mostly ultra athletes. It is a very serious condition affecting the sufferer's family as much as the athlete. Symptoms are wide ranging and can vary from the mildly annoying to a more serious life threatening stage.

Typically symptoms begin to appear around 2 weeks before a major race. Slight niggles appear usually in the legs. (Note - sufferers of taperitis are usually obsessed with the condition of their legs). Hamstrings tighten up, knees begin to ache and 'weird' feelings in a foot are very common. Suggestions of massage or making an appointment with a GP are usually met with a snort of derision. In the absence of a professional opinion, sufferers tend to Google their symptoms leading to self induced panic that a small mark on the leg is a tick bite and that they actually have Lymes disease. Other notable conditions include suspicion of brain hemorrhage, ulcer, cartilage damage, weight gain and even pregnancy.

Athletes are unable to run at their usual frequency leading to reduced levels of adrenalin. This in turn affects their mood. This can range from an out of sorts feeling to being an out and out grumpy bastard. The usual encouragement of "Get your shoes on, go out a run and give me peace" do not work in this phase. Family members need to find alternative coping strategies for themselves such as knitting while drinking white wine.

In the 2 weeks prior to a major event, sufferers of taperitis will take a closer than normal look at their eating and drinking habits and attempt to undo 50 weeks of unhealthy activity. Alcohol is prohibited and strange beetroot drinks become fashionable. Salad items such as tomatoes will suddenly appear on the breakfast menu alongside sausages in an attempt to convince themselves that they are eating healthily. Other items disappear from the fridge such as chicken breasts cooked for the next evening meal. Pasta becomes the carbohydrate of choice (mildly annoying symptom)

Lastly, sufferers of taperitis have more time on their hands. They have more time to spend at home with their families. In this phase they become more observant and notice little things they might not have noticed before. They will offer suggestions to improve the running of the household and comment on the state of the garden. Unfortunately they are not able to physically participate in any household chores as they could be prone to injury. Removal of a toilet brush from an athlete's throat would be a very serious injury (clearly a life threatening symptom)

Fortunately, taperitis rarely lasts longer than 2 weeks and is instantly cured on the weekend nearest the longest day of the year. TFFT!!


Lee Maclean said...

Google has a lot to answer for. Self diagnosis is hysterical. No need for seven years at medical school eh?

See you next week Mrs B xx

Jeroen said...

Ha, ha, ha! This is so recognizable! It even holds for Dutch runners, so it's a multinational-multicultural problem.

Whilst reading, I think I have those symptoms...

Anonymous said...

Of course taperitis inevitably leads on to post-race-wreckitis in which the patient is unable to walk at all for several days; indeed, hardly able to do anything for several days apart from wallowing between a state of euphoria and self-pity, and gazing myopically at the (hopefully for all concerned)recently hard-won crystal goblet. Recovery from this condition can be diagnosed from the patient's change in attitude from "Never Again" to "When do next year's entries open?"

Murdo t M

Debbie Martin-Consani said...

Love it! I've tore the face off everyone this week.

Subversive Runner said...

Lol! Having done almost no training and being not anything approaching an athlete I can say that I've suffered not from the symptoms described. I laughed my cock off thinking of Ian exhibiting them!

Oops, I said cock! Sorry. There are some very easily offended readers of these blogs.

The Sunday Adventure Club said...

you've nailed the symptoms spot on, i think you should be the official whw race taperitus counsellor!

Keith Hughes said...

Hee hee .. If only all the races were 2 weeks earlier then we would not have this problem !! See you next week !