Bangor University Research

During our 2012 event, the Institute for the Psychology of Elite Performance and the Extremes Research Group at Bangor University were researching psychological and physiological factors involved with performance in extreme environments, such as ultra-endurance events.

In partnership with Ring O' Fire, Bangor University were examining key psychological and physiological factors that will influence performance during our event.

The Ring O' Fire is one of the hardest ultra-endurance events in the UK and as such, lent itself well to support the University's research. The information generated from this research will not only be used to help athletes understand and enhance their performance in ultra-endurance events but will also make a significant contribution to the research literature.

Participants were not obliged to contribute to this project, however those who opted to take part in the research were provided with useful psychological and physiological feedback that should be of interest and may even help future performance.

The research Team was led by Dr. Calum Arthur in collaboration with Dr Jamie MacDonald, Alexandra MacGregor, Caoimhe Martin, and Tommie Du Preez.

The Institute for the Psychology of Elite Performance and the Extremes Research Group, Bangor University would once again like to thank everyone who took part in research during the Ring O' Fire 2012 event. Our objective was to examine the key psychological and physiological factors that influence performance in ultra-endurance events, with the aim of helping athletes better understand and enhance their performance in these events. At present we are still collating results, and due to the nature of academic research it may be some time before we can publish the overall research findings, but we will keep you all posted. In the meantime, we aim to send all participants of the research some individual feedback about the data we collected from you over the course of the event. We hope everyone is recovered and looking forward to Ring O' Fire 2013! Best, Caoimhe, Alexandra, Tommie, Calum and Jamie

Below are the average stats collected by the Bangor University team during the Ring O' Fire 2012 from those athletes who chose to participate. The stats from individual athletes will not be listed but those who participated will be able to compare their results to the averages listed below. Thanks again to the Bangor University team and to those who took part in the research.

Bangor University Race Statistics RoF 2012

Body Mass Index1 (BMI)

BMI is a way to see if your body mass is appropriate for your height. It is calculated by dividing your mass (kg) by your height squared (in meters). NB If you are very muscular your BMI reading may be erroneously high, even if you have a healthy level of body fat; this method of assessing body composition can not differentiate between muscle mass or fat mass. BMI should therefore be used as a general guide and interpreted cautiously.

Please use the following table as a guide:

Underweight Normal weight Overweight Obese
BMI category
< 18.5 18.5 - 24.9 25.0 - 29.9 > 30

Body Mass Change2 (% of body mass)

Average change day one = -0.88 %
Average change day two = -1.76 %

Body mass change is a method of assessing hydration status, or dehydration. Assuming the majority of the body mass change is attributed to fluid, it is suggested that losses of greater than 2% of body mass are detrimental to performance, especially when exercising in warm environments. NB This arbitrary cut off is controversial. Nevertheless we generally recommend that athletes avoid exceeding this value.

Urine Osmolality2 (mOsmol/kg)

Average day one = 457 mOsmol/kg
Average day two = 898 mOsmol/kg
Average day three = 723 mOsmol/kg

Urine osmolality is another method of assessing hydration status, or dehydration. Values of greater than 700 mOsmol/kg are indicative of dehydration.

Predicted VO2max3;

Average = 51 ml/kg/min

The Chester Step Test was used to predict VO2max, which is a way in which we can assess your aerobic fitness. Please use the following table to interpret your results (VO2max is measured in ml/kg/min):

Age (years) 15 - 19 20 - 29 30 - 39 40 - 49 50+
Excellent 60+ 55+ 50+ 46+ 44+
Good 48 - 59 44 - 54 39 - 49 37 - 45 35 - 43
Average 39 - 47 35 - 43 32 - 38 30 - 36 27 - 34
Below Average 30 - 38 28 - 34 26 - 31 24 - 29 22 - 26
Poor less than 30 less than 28 less than 26 less than 24 less than 22

Age (years) 15 - 19 20 - 29 30 - 39 40 - 49 50+
Excellent 55+ 50+ 46+ 43+ 41+
Good 44 - 54 39 - 49 35 - 45 34 - 42 33 - 40
Average 36 - 43 32 - 38 29 - 34 27 - 33 26 - 32
Below Average 29 - 35 27 - 31 24 - 28 22 - 26 20 - 25
Poor less than 29 less than 27 less than 24 less than 22 less than 20

Session rating of perceived exertion (RPE)4

Average day one = 6
Average day two = 8
Average day three = 7

The session RPE for each day provides a record of how hard you perceived you were working each day. This method can be used to control exercise intensity. Please use the following guide to interpret the results:

Rating Verbal Anchor
0 Rest
1 Very easy
2 Easy
3 Moderate
4 Sort of hard
5 Hard
7 Very hard
8 Very very hard

Kit mass

Average = 4.72kg

Nude body mass

Average = 77.88kg

Running mass

Average = 82.61kg

We have calculated the mass of your clothing, shoes and carried kit for your information and to compare with other competitors.


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Sawka, M. N., Burke, L. M., Eichner, E. R., Maughan, R. J., Montain, S. J., & Stachenfeld, N. S. (2007). American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand: Exercise and Fluid Replacement. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 39, 377-390.
Sykes, K., & Roberts, A. (2004). The Chester step test - a simple yet effective tool for the prediction of aerobic capacity. Physiotherapy, 90, 183-188.
Herman, L., Foster, C., Maher, M.A., Mikat, R. P., & Porcari, J. P. (2006). Validity and reliability of the session RPE method for monitoring exercise training intensity. South African Journal of Sports Medicine, 18, 14-17.

What do people say about us?

"Thanks for a great weekend. Im sure you guys are feeling just a wrecked if not more as us runners are. It was a truly brutal challenge."
Past Ring O' Fire finisher