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Is The Final Marathon Sprint Potentially Deadly?

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Nov. 24, 2011
  • Updated Nov. 24, 2011 at 12:36 PM UTC
One way to stay out of trouble in a race situation is to avoid caffeine.

One doctor suggests taking baby aspirin to prevent a race-day heart attack.

One way to stay out of trouble in a race situation is to avoid caffeine.

The recent passing of two runners at last weekend’s Philadelphia Marathon–both at or near the finish line–has some people wondering if the end kick potentially harmful. According to a report posted on ABC News’ Web site, Dr. Lewis Maharam, the board chairman of the International Medical Directors Association thinks so.

He says the final sprint to the finish line can prove fatal to vulnerable hearts.

“Runners are not bullet-proof,” he says. Dr. Maharam advises that runners take an 81-milligram baby aspirin and avoid caffeine–especially super-caffienated energy drinks–on race day.

No matter how young runners are, Dr. Maharam suggests that marathoners get an annual physical where doctors can screen for hidden heart ailments that may manifest themselves come race day. Though it seems like more runners are dying in marathons, Dr. Maharam, who was the past medical director of the New York Road Runners Club, says the absolute risk of dying has remained stable at one out of every 50,000 entrants.

For More: ABC News

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at Competitor.com and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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