Runner collapses, dies after crossing finish line of Rock 'n' Roll Marathon

Runner collapses, dies after crossing finish line of Rock 'n' Roll Marathon

Credit: Martha Cerna / KENS 5

The first corral of runners takes off during the San Antonio Rock 'n' Roll Marathon and Half Marathon Sunday, November 13, 2011.

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by Phil Anaya / KENS 5

Bio | Email | Follow: @phil_anaya

kens5.com

Posted on November 13, 2011 at 9:52 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 8 at 6:17 PM

For the first time in its short history, the San Antonio Rock 'n' Roll Marathon suffered a fatality.

Event organizers confirmed late Sunday afternoon that 32-year-old Jorge Fernandez of San Antonio died shortly after completing the half marathon.

Fernandez fell to the ground after crossing the finish line.

Medical workers gave him immediate assistance, and he was taken by ambulance to Christus Santa Rosa Hospital where he was pronounced dead just 35 minutes after completing the race.

The death at Sunday's race highlights the risks associated with marathon running.

Just last week a runner died during the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in Savannah, Georgia.

In October a 35-year-old firefighter collapsed during the Chicago Marathon.

A 20-year study done in the UK found that only one out of every 37,000 runners will suffer a fatal injury as a result of a marathon.

But, the risk of injury is still something every marathon runner is aware of.

"Whenever you hear a siren, I always panic cause you're always just concerned about your fellow runner," says Sally Rios, executive vice president for the San Antonio Roadrunners, one of the Alamo City's largest running clubs.

Rios says  no matter how old or young you are, or whether you are a beginner or an experienced runner, a marathon always has risks, especially on a warm day, like the one of Sunday's race.

Rios was one of my volunteers at the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon.

"The one thing we did tell our volunteers was to keep an eye on our runners, to look at them as you handed them the water. And if someone appeared to be glazy-eyed or stumbling around, get them over to medical attention," Rios explained.

Rios says while it was certainly warm, it is far too early to know what could have caused a runner to collapse and eventually die in Sunday's marathon.

"He could have had an underlying heart problem. He could've under-trained. Maybe he over-trained and over-exerted himself," she said. "Maybe he didn't take enough water. The heat may have gotten to him.

Regardless of the fact that this is not the first time a marathon runner has collapsed and died, or the last, Rios says it is still a difficult reality for the running community in San Antonio.

"It affects us all. It's one of our family. Runners are like a family. We all go through the pain, the same training. We all go through the same joy of finishing.

 

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