Posted by: Joe English | November 5, 2008

Races: Two runners die after 2008 ING New York City Marathon

The New York Road Runners has confirmed that two runners have died of heart related conditions after this weekend’s New York City Marathon. Two other runners had hear attacks, but were revived by emergency medical services and transported to local hospitals.

The New York Times reported Tuesday:

“One of the runners was Carlos Jose Gomes, 58, of Brazil. He fell unconscious shortly after completing the race in 4 hours 12 minutes 15 seconds. A resident of São Paulo, Gomes was pronounced dead at Lenox Hill Hospital at 5:21 p.m. An autopsy Monday revealed that he had a pre-existing heart condition and died of a heart attack, said Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the chief medical examiner’s office.

The Road Runners did not release details of the second fatality. But The Staten Island Advance reported that Joseph Marotta, 66, of Tompkinsville died, apparently of a heart attack, hours after finishing his fourth New York City Marathon. He walked the course in 9:16:46.”

The deaths of the two runners caused considerable stir in the media and the Internet, as people questioned whether marathon running is a sport too risky for the masses. The incidence of deaths in marathons is very low, although it does appear to occur most often in very large marathons, in part, due to the wider audience that they attact and the larger populations of runners involved.

As Dr. William J. Cole, a cardiologist who is a clinical assistant professor at New York University’s School of Medicine, told the New York Times, in a field of close to 40,000 people, a handful of cardiac cases was “not unlikely.”

Typically, marathon deaths are caused by one of four factors: 1) previously undiagnosed heart conditions, 2) heart attacks related to heart disease, 3) heat related illness and 4) hyponatremia or a low level of blood sodium that is typically caused by over-drinking of plain water. You can read an in-depth article on these causes in an article I wrote last year, by clicking here.

Running Advice and News


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