Illness Problems Lead To Eco Challenge Rethink
Next Eco Challenge to be in desert or alpine environment
Posted: 1 November 2000
The organisers of the Eco Challenge are looking seriously at the
location of future races after numerous competitors in this year's
Sabah (Borneo) event were stricken with the water-borne disease
Leptospirosis, also known as Weil's Disease.
Activities like these leave
a high risk from water-borne diseases.
The 2001 event venue has yet to be announced but the organisers
say they are looking at taking the event to a desert or alpine
environment and it will be held between September and December of
next year, the location and date will be annouced on the Eco
Challenge web site.
The official word on the disease problem is this:
'Sickness has been a result of almost every expedition-level
race held in a tropical, jungle environment and it is clear that
Expedition Racing in these conditions incurs additional risks. In
planning our future Eco-Challenge locations, this will be a very
important factor. Our success depends on the athletes, and although
they understand the inherent risks associated with traveling to
foreign countries and pushing their body to the limits, we want to
ensure that they are able to race again in the future.'
Meanwhile the extent of the problems following this year's race
has become clearer: approximately half the US competiors either
suffered from or were suspected to have suffered from Leptospirosis,
while some 24 UK and Irish competitors may have contracted the
disease. To put that in perspective, in 1999 there were just 23
reported cases for the whole of the UK. More background from
According to the organisers, everyone involved has now made a full
recovery. They are also proud that none of the athletes tested from
the top five finishing teams failed a drugs test.
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