I don’t know what to say, other than my heart goes out to the families of those involved in the three deaths at this year’s Detroit Free Press/Flagstar Marathon. Last week, the death of a 23 year old man at the Baltimore Marathon at the 25th mile (around 2 hours or so before I reached that point) marked at least the fourth time in which I have been involved in a race with at least one fatality (last year’s ING New York Marathon had two).
One of the Detroit deaths– a man in his 60’s who evidently fell on his head– could happen anywhere. The others, the deaths of seemingly well-conditioned men in their 20’s or 30’s, on track to run finishing times that I, now pushing 47, have long since given up dreaming of, presents something much more curious.
Certainly, congenital heart defects, or hyponatremia (low blood sodium caused by over– hydrating) could be what’s going on… But I’m wondering to what extent we’re talking about flu… particularly, given some of the vagaries of this particular flu season which make it seem… unusually worrisome. Perfectly healthy, indeed, extraordinarily well-conditioned, young men just succumbing…
Certainly, we could be seeing men “going for a time” that they are just not sufficiently well-conditioned to achieve… or it could be something else. Don’t know. We can all hope that these are some tragic, freak occurrence that, unfortunately, is just happening close together in time. Certainly, the weather in Detroit, low 40’s and overcast, and in Baltimore last week, mid-60’s and light rain, is usually considered good marathoning weather (and as someone who often confronts sunny days in the mid to high 80’s, let me say… it is).
So… while we can all hope that the tragic loss of these young men is not some kind of “canary in a coal mine” moment… Let’s just say… I wonder…