Monday, October 8, 2007

La Salle Bank Chicago Marathon – A Death March

Unbelievable. If you are a marathoner, this is the last place you wanted to be yesterday, October 7, 2007. Unless, of course, you were on the sidelines. The toxic combination of the heat and the humidity in the Windy City overwhelmed a number of runners.

In fact, one runner didn't complete the 26.2... due to death. The diagnosis was mitral valve prolapse. Was heat a factor? That's not for me to determine. An additional three hundred marathoners had to be treated for heat related conditions. The temperature soared to 88 degrees and the humidity bathed the runners so heavily that there was no relief from sweat evaporation.

The last time I saw marathon conditions even close to this was a few years ago at the L.A. Marathon. A beautiful course, and I enjoyed it because I did my fair share of walking. I don't need to be a hero. This is a lesson I have learned well, having run six ultramarathons.

Still, my hat is off to all who completed the Chicago Marathon yesterday. Also to the race director and his staff. Although the race is today being criticized for the water tables being understocked, I would not be too quick to judge.

Race directors for these major marathons rely on past data to project needs and prepare accordingly. If one race day's weather is uncharacteristically “off”, logistics can preclude playing catch-up.

1 comment:

Adam said...


I had no idea about this. FYI, I had a double valve replacement via open heart surgery in 2005.

Thanks for sharing all the info above. Very helpful and very sad.

Heart Valve Surgery