Cross Challenge on 24 October 2021

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Foolishness led to death of the marathon runner from Hamburg

The race on Sunday was the mans 4th marathon this year


The runner who collapsed last Sunday during the real,- BERLIN-MARATHON could not have been saved by the rescue workers, who were there immediately. This is the conclusion made by the doctor in charge during the race, Dr. Willi Heepe, after having received background medical information about the deceased man. The 50-year-old man from Hamburg was a top manager who despite his stress at work put himself under pressure in his free time, as well. The runner, who was not married and did not have any children, also suffered high blood pressure.

The race on Sunday was the mans 4th marathon this year. Just three weeks earlier, he had pushed himself to the limit in a marathon in Münster. He had announced to his doctor before the real,- BERLIN-MARATHON that he definitely wanted to make it under three hours. As he reached the last few kilometres on the Kurfürstendamm and he was getting close to his time limit, he tried to extract the last power out of his body and then collapsed. "Since he had just run a marathon at his maximum capacity three weeks earlier, he was not able to replenish his levels of minerals. After such an exertion, that requires at least six weeks. That is why he was not able to be reanimated by the rescue workers and doctors after his collapse - they were not able to keep him from dying" explained Dr. Willi Heepe. The marathon doctor described the runners behaviour as being "far from all reason". It is impossible for event organisers to prevent such cases. Especially for over-ambitious runners, one can only make a call to reason, and remind them of the death at the real,- BERLIN-MARATHON as a warning.

This was the first such death in the 29 years of the Berlin Marathon, over which there have only been five deaths total.

A second runner, from Switzerland, who collapsed at the 24 km mark and was successfully reanimated, has been released and has returned home. He suffered from disease of the coronary vessel, which really is a contra-indication for running and which was in urgent need of treatment. It is likely that his participation in the real,- BERLIN-MARATHON actually saved his life. Had he had the complications during an unsupervised run it probably would have ended fatally.

No other major marathon in the world medically looks after its participants as intensively as the real,- BERLIN-MARATHON. That becomes apparent when you look at the total statistics from last Sunday. In spite of the increased number of participants, there were fewer incidents this year than there have been for years. 59 participants had to go to the hospital, while a year ago the number was 120. One inline skater had a less serious injury. One participant ended up in the hospital with a broken bone after a fall.

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