The Marathoner Who’s Heart Almost Didn’t Make It

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Jul. 11, 2013
  • Updated Jul. 11, 2013 at 11:52 AM UTC

He nearly died in a race last year.

It’s not a joke to say that you have to literally put your heart into running 26.2 miles, the standard marathon distance.

Missoula, Mont. radio DJ Dave Norman had a recent scare that no runner wants to go through. According to, Norman, an avid runner, experienced a severe heart blockage at the Peak Triathlon last May.

“[It's] like if your car has got something in the fuel injection and it’s just like ‘uhhhhh.’ It was kind of like that,” Norman explained of his experience. “I got the throttle all the way down. I can’t push it any further yet I’m lugging up this hill.”

Doctors later said that he had a 1 on 10 chance of survival as the blockage occurred in an artery called, ominously, the “widow maker,” because it supplies the body with 65 percent of its blood.

But Norman’s close call with death isn’t stopping him; he’s taking part in this year’s Missoula Marathon.


Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at 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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