A half-marathoner and two other runners died during the Detroit marathon on Sunday, organizers said.What's notable is that all three, according to news reports, were in decent health. They had trained. They had run long road races before. These were not out-of-shape fools who spontaneously decided to go full speed for 13.1 miles on a lark.
Daniel Langdon, 36, of Laingsburg, collapsed at about 9:02 a.m. between the 11- and 12-mile markers, said Rich Harshbarger, vice president of consumer marketing for the Detroit Media
Partnership.Rick Brown, 65, of Marietta, Ohio, collapsed at 9:17 a.m., near where Langdon went down, and 26-year-old Jon Fenlon of Waterford collapsed at about 9:18 a.m., just after finishing the half-marathon in 1:53:37, Harshbarger said.
I like to assure myself (and my wife!) that long-distance running is perfectly safe, that it's good for my health, that it makes me more likely to live to see my grandchildren, not less. Statistically, of course, this is true. Hundreds of thousands of people run marathons every year, and deaths such as these seldom ever happen. Indeed, most runners benefit from healthier hearts, lungs, and circulation, which enhance longevity.
But people do sometimes die on the course. It happened during a race I was in earlier this year. And there is a small but very real danger that comes with putting such strain on one's heart. (Note to my mother: Yes, I do continue to wear the heart monitor you gave me for my birthday on every run, and no, it's shown nothing to be worried about!) Every time we run, we take a certain risk. Of course, that's true of life itself, and none of us ever knows when God will call us home.
Let's offer up prayers for these three men as well as for the consolation of their families.
May the souls of these fallen runners, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace.