Note that in all studies, participants consumed cherry juice for a few days before and after exercise. Perhaps something to consider for the next big race?
Bowtell JL, Sumners DP, Dyer A, Fox P, Mileva KN.
Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011 Aug;43(8):1544-51. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31820e5adc.
Montmorency cherry juice consumption improved the recovery of isometric muscle strength after intensive exercise perhaps owing to the attenuation of the oxidative damage induced by the damaging exercise.
Influence of tart cherry juice on indices of recovery following marathon running.
Howatson G, McHugh MP, Hill JA, Brouner J, Jewell AP, van Someren KA, Shave RE, Howatson SA.
Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2010 Dec;20(6):843-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2009.01005.x.
The cherry juice appears to provide a viable means to aid recovery following strenuous exercise by increasing total antioxidative capacity, reducing inflammation, lipid peroxidation and so aiding in the recovery of muscle function.
Efficacy of a tart cherry juice blend in preventing the symptoms of muscle damage.
Connolly DA, McHugh MP, Padilla-Zakour OI, Carlson L, Sayers SP.
Br J Sports Med. 2006 Aug;40(8):679-83; discussion 683. Epub 2006 Jun 21.
These data show efficacy for this cherry juice in decreasing some of the symptoms of exercise induced muscle damage. Most notably, strength loss averaged over the four days after eccentric exercise was 22% with the placebo but only 4% with the cherry juice.