Why is this research being done?

Running has many benefits for our health, including improved fitness, stronger bones and muscles, and weight loss. However, regular running is often assumed to increase the risk of osteoarthritis of the knee. On the other hand, regular running may potentially improve knee health, through increased blood flow and strengthening of muscles.
Previous studies have investigated the effect of running on knee health, but they were too short to assess the long-term effects and have had conflicting findings.
The NewRun study will expand and improve previous research. We will extend the follow-up time to at least 5 years and focussing on outcomes beyond just running-related injury, including physical and mental health, cardiovascular health and more.

Who can participate in the research study?

You are invited to participate if you:
• Are a healthy adult between 30-65 years of age at study entry.
• Run an average of at least 5km, but no more than 50km, per week over the past 6 months.
• Are able to provide written informed consent.
• Live within 50km of John Hunter Hospital/HMRI campus and are not anticipating moving away within the next 5 years.
• Are willing to attend yearly visits at HMRI for at least 5 years and have yearly MRI scans performed.
• Are willing to complete baseline and then yearly questionnaires about your physical and mental health.
• Use any form of tracking, such as smartwatch or smartphone apps, to record your running frequency, speed, and distance.

Please note that this study is not suitable for you, if you:
• Have any contraindications to MRI scan (e.g. implanted pace maker, severe claustrophobia, other ferromagnetic foreign body or implant). If you are unsure, please contact the investigator team or your GP.
• Have a history of knee replacement, ligament reconstruction, or any previous operation involving an implant in or adjacent to either knee.
• Have known inflammatory arthritis (including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic, seronegative spondyloarthritis).

What will study participants be asked to do? What does the study involve?

To participate, you need to be willing to attend yearly visits at HMRI for at least 5 years. During the visits, we will perform MRI scans of one of your knees and collect further information. Each visit will take 2-3 hours of your time. We will reimburse you for travel costs and provide refreshments. The study is planned to continue for 5 years, but may continue for longer, depending on funding. We will also ask you to sign up to the Flutracking study, which collects a brief (1 minute) weekly web-based survey about cold and flu symptoms. You can see a demo of the survey here.
The following information will be collected weekly:
• Self-reported symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection (Flutracking Online Survey)
The following information will be collected at baseline and where applicable updated yearly:
• Date of birth, biological sex, and medical history
• Height, weight, blood pressure, resting heart rate, grip strength
• Running history, type of running shoes, age when regular running began
• Other regular exercise
• Depression, anxiety, and gut health rating scales
• MRI scan. This involves lying in an MRI machine for about 20 minutes.

The MRI scans will be analysed using special software to measure the volume of knee cartilage. You will not receive a radiologist’s report of your knee scan, but you can be provided with the scan images if you wish. In case of any incidental findings, these will be reported to your GP for follow up. For this purpose, we will ask you to provide the contact details of your GP at your baseline visit.
If you give us permission to, we may also contact you about related research in the future, and/or use your data for future related research.

Download the Participant Information Statement here


If you want any further information or if you have any medical questions related to this project you can contact the project co-ordinator on NewRun-admin@uonstaff.edu.au or the principal study doctor, Professor Josh Davis by email Joshua.Davis@health.nsw.gov.au.