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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Young Woman Dies in White Rock Marathon

On December 15, 2008 during the Dallas White rock Marathon, a 29-year-old woman collapsed and was pronounced dead, the race director said.

According to the Dallas morning news, Marcus Grunewald, director of the 39-year-old Dallas White Rock Marathon, said that the young newlywed woman’s death was the first in the event since 1986. In that race a 47-year-old man collapsed after suffering a heart attack and died during the marathon.

Witnesses to the event said the woman appeared to be running fine until mile 21, just a few miles from the finish, when she suddenly stumbled. She was helped to a nearby curb and then lost consciousness. "Her body was cold," one witness said. "She was already gone."

The race director told the Dallas Morning News that due to the marathon's 66-degree weather, higher than the race's average, medical aid and water were readily available along the race route. Although heart attack is suspected, the exact cause of death had not been determined. An autopsy was pending.

This tragic event illustrates the importance of checking with your primary care doctor before training for any endurance event. Undiagnosed heart disease or other underlying medical conditions can lead to disaster.

Even if you have been training for months without any episodes or warnings of trouble, distress of running faster during an organized marathon can lead to enough over-load to cause a heart attack.

After running for many miles particularly at your maximum capacity, dehydration can lead to electrolyte changes that can contribute to a heart attack. It is critical to make sure they don’t have any underlying heart disease before considering when these events.


Dr. Christopher Segler is an Ironman Finisher and award winning foot and ankle surgeon specializing in elite athletes. His podiatry practice is at Don On the Run Podiatry House Calls in San Francisco, Marin and the East Bay. To learn more about Achilles tendonitis, runner’s heel pain, stress fractures, bunions and other common causes of foot pain, you can register for a FREE membership and copy of his monthly newsletter “Finisher’s Circle” by visiting
http://www.AnkleCenter.com .

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