The Philly marathon had a tragic ending on Sunday when it concluded with the death of two runners. The weather conditions were worsened by uncharacteristic humidity and warmth which only added to the difficulty of the 26.2 mile race.
The owner of Elite Runners and Walkers in Robinson which supported 34 local runner at the event, Kevin Smith, said that by the end of the race people where dropping like flies when approaching the finish line, the 10 degrees above normal temperature taking a big toll on the runners.
So far the officials haven’t released the names of the victims pending families being notified first. Melanie Johnson, the executive director of the Philly race, stated: “we are deeply saddened, and our thoughts are with their families and friends”.
Officer Jillian Russell, police spokeswoman, said that two people collapsed and were taken to Hahnemann University Hospital during the race. A 21 year old man hit the pavement at the finish line in Benjamin Franklin Parkway and a 40 year old collapsed a quarter mile before reaching the finish line. Both were pronounced dead with a diagnosis of heart attack.
Smith witnessed the 21 year old man collapse but wasn’t aware of his tragic death until later on that evening. He said that even though anyone is allowed to sign in for the event, organizers heavily advice the runners to not push their bodies over their actual limits and start the race at a slow pace. “With a race of that size, you get a lot of new runners that maybe have never run a race and don’t understand the stresses on the body”, he added.
This year the Philly marathon had over 25,000 participants raging from doctors, to athletes, to people who haven’t run in a race before. The organizers had emergency personnel throughout the race route ready to help the runners in need.
Samantha Howard, former runner for Duquesne University, came in fifth with a time of 2:45:45 which qualified her for the Olympic Trials.