About RUNSAFE

RUNSAFE is a Danish research group with primary interest in running-related injuries. Since 2010, we have conducted studies including runners in all shapes and sizes. We wish to develop novel, motivating running schedules, which can be used by all runners regardless of their experience. 

RUNSAFE is mainly affiliated at the Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, with close collaboration to researchers at the University of Copenhagen, University of Southern Denmark, Aalborg University, and the University hospitals in Aarhus and Aalborg.

Purpose

The purpose of RUNSAFE is to establish a Danish research direction with strong international collaborators with the primary focus on running injury etiology, prevention and treatment, which

  • Represents excellence within running-related injury research
  • Supports and develops initiatives,which aims to create a web-based solution for large-scale data collections and data storage from runners in Denmark and the rest of the world
  • Values to importance of dissemination and implementing evidence-based knowledge in clinical practise and running communities through collaborations with companies, organisations and athletic federations
  • Completes courses in "running injuries" at universities targeted students of medicine, sports science and physiotherapy
  • Contributes to the education of students, runners, coaches and clinicians

Main competencies

"Our main competencies is our ability to complete large-scale prospective cohort studies and intervention trials. This is possible, because we use web-based data collection tools to gather data on training and injury status. On top, we are extremely skilled within biostatistics and epidemiology, which enables for in-depth analyses of the data. We are multidisciplinary with researchers from medicine, physiotherapy, sport physiology, psychology, midwifery, biomechanics, biostatistics, epidemiology and software development, which enables for different viewpoints on the research questions and methodologies".



Rasmus Oestergaard Nielsen,
Research coordinator of RUNSAFE

Vision

To establish a research direction within the running injury thematic, which, through research and knowledge sharing, brings into focus the prevention and treatment of running-related injuries, and identifies running schedules, which are efficient, motivating and enjoyable.

Mission

To motivate and maintain runners at all levels in their training with minimal risk of injury and greatest effect. In addition, to create evidence-based knowledge, which lead to better treatment options for injured runners.

Aims

  • To ensure collaborations with research peers in Europe and worldwide.
  • To publish at least six peer-reviewed articles per year in internationally high-ranking journals.
  • To have a strong collaboration with funding agencies, organisations, federations and commercial companies.
  • To gather data on training and injury amongst 100.000 runners.

How to achieve these aims

We have a clear and well-established organisation and structure with sufficient man power, supervisors and self-controlled economy. We ask appropriate and plausible research questions, common- and relevant for coaches, clinicians and runners. We have an established collaboration with Danish and international research institutions, organisations and the health sector. We have sufficient access to offices, laboratories and web-based data collection tools. We ensure that activities and publications from all RUNSAFE members are properly appreciated, highlighted and acknowledged. 

Organisation

RUNSAFE is organised with a responsible leader, a management group and a research coordinator. In addition, each of 4 the work packages has one or two leaders.

Ultimately, RUNSAFE is associated with international collaborators, commercial partners, sports organisations and federations.


Responsible leader

Head of Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, Søren Kjærgaard is the leader of RUNSAFE. His task is to ensure, that all economical dispositions are handled correctly and to engage in dialogues with the management group and the research coordinator regarding funding applications, data sharing, and central issues that are not directly related to each research project or research question.

Research Coordinator

Post Doc. Rasmus Østergaard Nielsen from Aarhus University is the research coordinator for RUNSAFE. On top, he is leader of WP1. His task is to ensure that all researchers in the RUNSAFE group have a common understanding of the purpose, procedures and deadlines, and that the management group, the sports organisations, the commercial partners and the students meet, knowledge-share and discuss loose ends. In such way, the research coordinator must ensure that all persons in RUNSAFE are updated on the latest activities, publications and organisational decisions. In addition, the research coordinator is responsible for the contact to the mass media, including drafting press releases. 

Management group

A management group of senior VIP´s assists responsible leader, Søren Kjærgaard and Research Coordinator Rasmus Ø. Nielsen (Work Package 1):

  • Ass. Prof. in biomechanics Henrik Sørensen, Aarhus University (Work package 3)
  • Prof. in sports traumatology Martin Lind, Aarhus University hospital (Work package 2)
  • Prof. in biostatistics Erik Parner, Aarhus University(Work package 4)
  • Medical doctor Sten Rasmussen, Aalborg University hospital, (Work package 2)

­The task of the management group is to keep themselves up-to-date with publications, work force, research projects and funding in the four work packages of RUNSAFE. The management group is capable of re-structuring the RUNSAFE organization, including expanding or reducing the number of work packages and approving collaborations with external public or private stakeholders. In addition, the management group must develop and agree upon short-term plans (18-month plans) as well as a strategy for a 5-year period, including aims, vision, mission and milestones.

Strategy

The planned strategy of RUNSAFE spans from 2015 to 2025. Importantly, we wish to establish RUNSAFE in a context across universities with activities scheduled beyond 2025. 

Phase 1: 2015 - 2018, Establishment, etiology and motivation

In phase 1, the focus is to generate knowledge about injury etiology. Such knowledge is needed before phase 2 is initiated because knowledge about prevention and treatment is needed to ask the appropriate research questions and to design the studies or trials in a proper manner. A 3-year period enables for establishing, initiation- and completion of a number of projects, which are almost fully, financed, primarily PhD projects.

After 3 years, in summer 2018, RUNSAFE will have generated new evidence-based knowledge on the association between running and injury development based on research related to etiology (WP1), cumulative load (WP3), and development of causal theories and advanced statistical time-to-event models (WP4). In addition, validation of data-collection tolls is central. Ultimately, RUNSAFE will have contributed to research-oriented lectures at universities and dissemination amongst health-care professionals, organisations and runners.

In 2015, RUNSAFE initiated phase 1 with five fully financed PhD students enrolled at Aarhus- and Aalborg Universities. This is a solid work force (in particular in WP1). Therefore, the primary budget posts to be covered in phase 1 are expenses for additional three PhD students, VIP salary for Rasmus Nielsen, TAP salary and expenses for a technological, web-based data collection tool and equipment like an instrumented treadmill.

PHASE 2: 2018 - 2021, Prevention and treatment

In phase 2, RUNSAFE must explore different research questions within all five work packages, to generate knowledge about prevention and treatment of injuries. WP 1, 3, and 4 continues, while activities in work package 2 are initiated. In addition, RUNSAFE will try to establish collaborations with researchers within (i) running, children and injuries, (ii) running injuries from a molecular perspective.

PHASE 3: 2021 - 2025, Refinement

In phase 3, RUNSAFE focuses on refinement, implementation and dissemination and to research within new sample populations like children, depressed and diseased. 

Research through work packages

RUNSAFE wishes to develop novel, motivating running schedules, which can be used by all runners regardless of their experience. We complete large-scale observational studies and trials; laboratory-based research within biomechanics; and develop novel statistical methods and causal theories.

It is our experience, that collaborations across work packages are necessary, if plausible knowledge about injury etiology, -prevention and –treatment should surface.

RUNSAFE organise the research within 5 work packages:

  • Etiology and prevention
  • Treatment & consequences
  • Biomechanics
  • Statistics and causality

Each work package has a specific focus, but the multi-disciplinarily to other packages is highly valued, in order to create synergy and a common understanding of the research aims. One or two leaders, who report to the research coordinator for RUNSAFE, lead the four work pages. In top of the organisation, a leader leads RUNSAFE, while strategies are developed- and central decisions are made in the 8-person management group.


WORK PACKAGE 1: Etiology and prevention

Leader: Post Doc, Rasmus Ø. Nielsen, Aarhus University

Web-based tools enables for quantification of running and injury status as well as self-reported data on demographic characteristics, behaviour, motivation, health, and much more. By completing large-scale data collections, we are able to investigate the etiology behind running-related injuries. Target populations are runners in different sizes and shapes, like novices, recreationalists, obese, pregnant. Also, we work within different thematises like diet, running schedules and running shoes. Amongst all groups, it is necessary to investigate, how much the runners are able to run, before an injury occurs, and if there are certain interventions (training modification, diet, shoes, surface), which enables the runners to complete an increased or decreased running load, before injury occurs. In collaboration with Danish Institute for Sports Studies, epidemiological studies are conducted to examine the prevalence of running injuries in the Danish population.

WORK PACKAGE 2: Treatment & Consequences

Leaders: Professor, Martin Lind, Aarhus University hospital & Medical Doctor, Sten Rasmussen, Aalborg University hospital

We challenge the existing, strength-oriented rehabilitation programs by investigating running-oriented rehabilitation programs, since we have reason to believe, that certain running injuries can be treated using simple advices on how to schedule the running program. The focus is on the most frequent running injuries like runners´ knee, jumpers´ knee, patellofemoral pain, Achilles tendinopathy, meniscal injuries and plantar fasciitis. In addition, we will investigate the consequences of running injuries on drug usage, healthcare utilization, absenteeism from work, and time-to-recovery. Finally, amongst the physiotherapists in RUNSAFE treatment we investigate the clinicians´ beliefs about injury etiology and treatment.

WORK PACKAGE 3: Biomechanics

Leader: Associate professor, Henrik Sørensen, Aarhus University

In biomechanical laboratories and by using pressure-sensitive insoles in running shoes, we are able to measure who the body is loaded / stressed during running in particular after analysing data with the AnyBody software. With such knowledge, we can examine the size of the load on different structures while running at different running speeds, in different shoes or by changing technique or alignment. It is necessary, that information be gathered in a valid and reliable manner. Therefore, we complete validation studies on the equipment / devices used for data collections. For instance, this could be validation of accelerometers in smartphones, GPS-watches or pressure-sensitive insoles. ­

WORK PACKAGE 4: Development of causal models and statistical methods

Leader: Professor, Erik Parner, Aarhus University

Causality is the true cause and mechanism of running-related injury. We aim to develop a theoretical model, which describes the complex mechanisms behind injuries in a way, which is biological plausible. To this end, we need to further develop the statistical methods available, since complex causality require very advanced statistical methods in order to analyse data in an appropriate, in-depth manner. 

The RUNSAFE research group

RUNSAFE is a Danish research group with primary interest in running-related injuries. Since 2010, we have conducted studies including runners in all shapes and sizes. We wish to develop novel, motivating running schedules, which can be used by all runners regardless of their experience. 

RUNSAFE is mainly affiliated at the Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, with close collaboration to researchers at the University of Copenhagen, University of Southern Denmark, Aalborg University, and the University hospitals in Aarhus and Aalborg.


The purpose of RUNSAFE is to establish a Danish research direction with strong international collaborators with the primary focus on running injury etiology, prevention and treatment, which

  • Represents excellence within running-related injury research
  • Supports and develops initiatives,which aims to create a web-based solution for large-scale data collections and data storage from runners in Denmark and the rest of the world
  • Values to importance of dissemination and implementing evidence-based knowledge in clinical practise and running communities through collaborations with companies, organisations and athletic federations
  • completes courses in "running injuries" at universities targeted students of medicine, sports science and physiotherapy
  • Contributes to the education of students, runners, coaches and clinicians

Main competencies

"Our main competencies is our ability to complete large-scale prospective cohort studies and intervention trials. This is possible, because we use web-based data collection tools to gather data on running training and injury status. On top, we are extremely skilled within biostatistics and epidemiology, which enables for in-depth analyses of the data.

We are multidisciplinary with researchers from medicine, physiotherapy, sport physiology, psychology, midwifery, biomechanics, biostatistics, epidemiology and software development, which enables for different viewpoints on the research questions and methodologies".

Rasmus Oestergaard Nielsen
Research coordinator of RUNSAFE