Nov 2014 08

The dancing calf

By: Dave Wheeler

a tale from the Stevenage Marathon 2014



the video shows "Pete's" calf muscle after running the Stevenage Marathon last Sunday.

His calf muscles were in a state of constant spasm. What looks like something from the movie 'Alien' moving about under the skin is actually the muscle in spasm.

Pete has run a total of 275 marathons; before Sunday's event, he'd run the Dublin marathon 6 days before. It's an obvious case of chronic excessive overuse. It's as if the calves are saying "enough is enough"

Muscle spasms are sudden involuntary muscle contraction - in this case caused by massive overload of the muscles. 

A lot of the time, when muscle spasms are severe, we notice it as cramp.

Most crapms can be relieved by a combination of:

  • stretching
  • gentle massage
  • heat (like a warm bath)

But Pete's spasms were way beyond that - they just needed rest. They'd been used and abused so much that they need time and some warmth... and by time I mean a few days and no running for a good month.


Massage stats from the Stevenage Marathon 2014

  • 44 athletes treated
  • £225 raised for the Lister Hospital Magic of Play Appeal
  • muscles treated include:
    • quadriceps (the muscles at the front of the thigh)
    • hamstrings
    • calves
    • plantarfascia (the bottom of the feet)
    • lower back
    • shoulder
  • 3 massage therapists knackered by the end of the day