Is It Safe To Run A Marathon?

26 11 2008

Just recently, I heard and read about two runners who died during the New York City Marathon and another fatality is the well popular Ryan Shay who died last November 2007 during the race. He’s at full speed when he collapsed and died suddenly, and the nagging question is, “Is it safe to run a marathon?”

Let me first share with you my own story. When I joined my first ever marathon last 2007, and did it twice this year 2008, I have a very fulfilling experience once I arrived at the finish line, but to tell you honestly when I reached kilometer 30-onward, there was this mixed feeling of fatigue, stress, dehydration and sign of dead legs. Maybe at this point in time, those fatalities I’ve mentioned earlier have reached the maximum level, and they still continue in spite of…

Another thing to consider is that there is this wrong notion that once you become a RUNNER, all possible ailments or sicknesses will be gone, hence they neglected the importance of executive check-up. This should be avoided, for before I run a marathon, I see to it that I have medical clearance and passed necessary lab tests like ecg, 2d echo, treadmill and stress test. Remember that, a marathon is a 42 kilometer run and it’s a big deal to reckon with and not to be taken lightly.

Training is also a major factor. You must at least have a 4 month training period before the race. Every water stations you must refill yourself and you should listen to your body. Heart rate monitor watch will play an important role in establishing your pace and setting the boundaries of your heart capacity. Consider also the pollution, the heat and those rampaging automobiles.

The running doctor puts it this way, and I quote…”Marathon running is safe for those cleared by their doctors to compete. Although the worldwide statistic is about one death in 50,000 participants or one in 75,000 (depending on the study), and this is quite small, whenever you get a large number of people together in one place, there are “expected” demises.

All who experience “sudden death” have an underlying cause. This points out the need for everyone to get a stress test after age 40 or earlier if recommended by their physician and get checked if they experience chest pain, pressure, shortness of breath, or some other abnormal feeling while exercising. This also points out the need for everyone to fill out the medical information label on the back of their bib number so as to make it easier for emergency personnel to take care of you if needed.

Speaking of which, here’s an example of the kind of story you don’t read about:

In this year’s marathon, a man was resuscitated on the 59th Street Bridge (he had no pulse and wasn’t breathing; a med team and ambulance were there in two minutes) and rushed to the hospital. He was having a heart attack. The man had angioplasty and will walk out of the hospital to someday run again! With thousands of medical volunteers and an ambulance system tuned to caring for our runners, response time, the greatest indicator for survival, was dramatic. Had he been sitting in his living room, he may not have made it.

In other words: Assuming you have all the appropriate pre-race health screening, running a marathon is safer than sitting in your living room. If you do your part, the marathon course may just be the safest place to be race day.”

And some have their comments…Let me quote them again.

“I agree that EVERYONE should be checked before a race, especially marathons. I am 30, and I ran the NYC marathon. I wasn’t smart enough to have a check-up. Ryan Shay died at 28. He was an elite runner and very fit-looking. There are many heart abnormalities that do not manifest right away, and can manifest suddenly. A doctor can diagnose and treat any problems so runners can remain safe.”

“No one is ever completely “safe”. Even yearly exams merely reduce your risks. With a healthy heart you can still be hit by a bus. The real question is do you want to live life and go out doing what you love or die sitting on the couch watching others do it.”

God bless us all!

“Beware of Him and obey His voice.” Exodus 23:21




2 responses

26 11 2008

Hello. Well written post and thank you for sharing with us. The amount of deaths in races (particularly) are very small, but is always noticible, especially this year when two people died at NYC.

Definitely. a checkup, eating the right types of foods, the proper training and rest are important. I’ve been fortunate in following these things for a long time.

Hopefully, the next time I visit the Philippines, I have a chance in meeting you. Take care and God bless.

26 11 2008

Hi sfrunner…I’m glad to have you here and share your wits and wisdom regarding this timely topic. Actually, I posted this so that my friends who are into running already but afraid to join the marathon for fear that they will be the next victim hehehe God forbid! So I believe that as what you have said, if we will follow those important rules, we can conquer the 42 kms. Nothing is impossibe to those who believe!
God bless you bro. Again, I’m Happy knowing you.

Run the race but never forget to enjoy the scenery!

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