5K Race Tests Effects of Beetroot Juice on Performance

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COLUMBIA - Participants of the Beet the Heat 5K Race took off running Saturday morning at Cosmo Park. But it wasn't just a race.

The race is designed to test the effects of beetroot juice or placebo on race performance. Interested runners had to be available for two different race dates- Saturday and July 6th.

"We want to examine what happens when you take beetroot juice in a real world environment," Race coordinator Dr. Brian Snyder said. "It's been proven to lower blood pressure in the lab environment."

Some racers took a concentrated shot of beetroot juice two hours before the race, while others drank a placebo.

"The beetroot juice is a hot topic right now," Snyder said. "Those with beetroot juice should run faster."

One of the goals of the study is to be published in a research journal, so there were certain constraints on participants. Runners had to be able to run both races, as well as attend a pre-race meeting to learn about the study. Participants also need to record and repeat the same pre-race meals 24 hours before each race. Runners will also fill out a post-race survey after each 5K.

The race is part of Truman State studen't research project. Andrew Sheets applied for a grant through the True Scholar program and received a stipend for summer research.

"If it's successful it would be one more piece of evidence," Sheets said. "There's already a lot in the laboratory setting so it wouldn't be the first time it's proven, but it would be that much more solid evidence."