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American Heart Association

Racing death: How can runners be saved from cardiac arrest?

Last Sunday, the Rock ’n’ Roll half marathon in Raleigh, N.C., experienced a very rare – and very tragic – event.Two male runners, both in their 30s, collapsed before reaching the finish line and were pronounced dead at nearby hospitals. The causes of their deaths have not been confirmed, but health experts at the race speculated that they experienced fatal cardiac events.Cardiac arrests during long-distance races are very rare. According to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine , nearly 11 million runners participated in marathons and half-marathons in the United States between 2000 and 2010, and only 59 had cardiac events.But when cardiac arrests do occur, they are almost always deadly. Of the 59 cases reported in the study, 42 were fatal.So what can be done to prevent these tragedies? Should race organizers be stricter with their registration requirements?Most endurance events, such as marathons or obstacle races like the Tough Mudder, require participants only to...

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