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Study: Heart Attacks Uncommon At Marathons

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Jan. 13, 2012
  • Updated Jan. 13, 2012 at 9:09 AM UTC
Marathoners and heart attacks don't really mix. Photo: Getty Images

But men have them more than women do.

Marathoners and heart attacks don't really mix. Photo: Getty Images

Another day, another running study. However, news from the latest published research bodes well for marathoners. According to The New England Journal of Medicine’s study, which covered 10 years of running and almost 11 million runners, only 59 people had a cardiac arrest during a race.

Of the 59 runners, 51 were men and across all the incidents, 42 were fatal–a 71 percent rate.

Besides the fact that these unfortunate incidents are rare, what else is there to take away from the study?

“In my mind, the most important public health message that comes from this study is the importance of timely bystander CPR,” said Dr. Aaron L. Baggish, the senior author. “That’s really the most actionable item — we’ve found something here that really makes a difference when someone goes down.”

Researchers collected clinical data from nearly half the fatalities and concluded that most were caused by hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a genetically-caused thickening of the heart wall that makes it electrically unstable.

For More: The New York Times

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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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