Chevron CityToSurf (Perth) is over. A fellow runner died at the finish line. I guess that I will ramble on about that. Interested?
It is so sad when something like this happens. You can’t enjoy having accomplished what you trained for such a long time. Every time I tell how happy I am about beating my 3:20 goal, thoughts of him come to my mind.
We try to find reasons for something like this to happen. Actually we don’t know. We will never know.
Was he young and fit? Apparently yes. How come then?
After some googling and past experiences (a running buddy who had a heart attack as he was finishing the 2009 Houston marathon 2 minutes ahead of me, beating his 3:10 goal), I guess I have learned:
In my simplistic view, there’s 2 types of heart attacks that you could suffer during a race or training:
- sudden cardiac arrest
- all other heart attacks
As it would apply to running, starting with #2, this is the kind of attack that you can feel building up and coming. For most of us runners, we tend to suck it in. It’s just a bit of heartburn. It’s just some gas. We’ve taught our brains to interpret pain as temporary. Lesson learnt: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY – CAREFULLY! And if you are not in good shape, taking medication, or any other risk factor… you know what makes sense. Stop, get help, get ready for the worse. If it was just gas, it will deserve a good laugh.
Regarding #1…, that’s a tough one. Causes that lead to sudden cardiac arrest
are not perfectly understood. There’s no unique (inexpensive) test to predict such a condition. Neither are these run on any person that has vague symptoms common to so many other affections. When it happens, the heart just starts going into anarchy, chaos. Every now an then an athlete or a totally healthy person dies from it. It can be during exercise (hard or mild), or without any apparent reason. It just happens. Prevention, prediction? Apparently there is a study
that says that “simply asking about previous episodes of syncope was enough to identify young athletes at risk for sudden death.
” Lesson learnt: DON’T IGNORE PAST EPISODES OF FAINTING OR SYNCOPE
. Get your tests done if that is the case.
As for the chances of this happening to any of us… they pretty low. Looks like 1 in 200,000 athletes. Fair enough to make me think twice, and go to my GP if any time I feel not very well in the unusual way.
Will this make me run less? Or run slower? Should I be more conservative? Other than the reasonable tips given above… I don’t think this changes anything to be honest.
Just to end this post. I want to say again that I feel very sad for this guy who passed. So young, so fit. But he did so with dignity, I guess that in a noble way. At least that is how I would like to remember him and this day.
”I was thinking when I woke up this morning what a great gift it is each day of life to see the beautiful day and when I was out running this morning, how I need to cherish and truly treasure all that is wonderful in life and tell all I love how loved, dear, and important they are because every day is sacred and precious.”