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Catherine Bodry Wednesday, 28 December 2011 07:56 TWEET COMMENTS 0

To Pee or Not to Pee

If you're serious about making time, let `er rip

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New runners are shocked and repulsed when they hear about it, but seasoned distance runners shrug nonchalantly, immune to embarrassment. They know that relieving themselves publicly and in their clothes is just a fact of the distance runner's life. Though the practice is less common in races longer than marathons, those racing to the finish line or dueling with a competitor in ultra-distance races are known to forgo seclusion as well. Ultrarunner Krissy Moehl, 30, recalls her first ultra race, the 2000 Chuckanut 50K, where she found herself on course-record pace and needing to urinate: "I came from a track background where every second counts, and I didn't want to take the time to stop."

Stepping primly off the trail to do your business in private could cost you at least a minute or two. Multiply that by several stops in a marathon and you can realize the potential time savings. Ladies especially have even more to lose—they've got to pop a squat on exhausted legs. And although men can just turn their backs and take aim, that doesn't stop many of them from keeping their pace and relieving themselves in their running briefs.

Elite runner Jane Wiebe, 50, of Homer, Alaska, recalls urinating during the 1979 Honolulu Marathon, her first win. "I needed to pee and it was pouring rain, so it seemed harmless enough, but it was very, very difficult to get my body to go along with the idea of peeing while running," says Wiebe. "I did accomplish it eventually, and won the race, which led to numerous invitations that led to the apex of my marathon career." Wiebe went on to win, among others, the Deseret News, Emerald City (twice) and Stockholm marathons, and placed sixth in Boston and second in Tokyo.



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