News Archive

News Archive

Foolishness led to death of the marathon runner from Hamburg

The runner who collapsed last Sunday during the real,- BERLIN-MARATHON could

not have been saved by the rescue workers, who were there immediately. This is

the conclusion made by the doctor in charge during the race, Dr. Willi Heepe,

after having received background medical information about the deceased man.

The 50-year-old man from Hamburg was a top manager who despite his stress at

work put himself under pressure in his free time, as well. The runner, who was

not married and did not have any children, also suffered high blood pressure.

The race on Sunday was the mans 4th marathon this year. Just three weeks

earlier, he had pushed himself to the limit in a marathon in Münster. He

had announced to his doctor before the real,- BERLIN-MARATHON that he

definitely wanted to make it under three hours. As he reached the last few

kilometres on the Kurfürstendamm and he was getting close to his time

limit, he tried to extract the last power out of his body and then collapsed.

"Since he had just run a marathon at his maximum capacity three weeks

earlier, he was not able to replenish his levels of minerals. After such an

exertion, that requires at least six weeks. That is why he was not able to be

reanimated by the rescue workers and doctors after his collapse - they were not

able to keep him from dying" explained Dr. Willi Heepe. The marathon

doctor described the runners behaviour as being "far from all

reason". It is impossible for event organisers to prevent such cases.

Especially for over-ambitious runners, one can only make a call to reason, and

remind them of the death at the real,- BERLIN-MARATHON as a warning.

This was the first such death in the 29 years of the Berlin Marathon, over

which there have only been five deaths total.

A second runner, from Switzerland, who collapsed at the 24 km mark and was

successfully reanimated, has been released and has returned home. He suffered

from disease of the coronary vessel, which really is a contra-indication for

running and which was in urgent need of treatment. It is likely that his

participation in the real,- BERLIN-MARATHON actually saved his life. Had he had

the complications during an unsupervised run it probably would have ended


No other major marathon in the world medically looks after its participants

as intensively as the real,- BERLIN-MARATHON. That becomes apparent when you

look at the total statistics from last Sunday. In spite of the increased number

of participants, there were fewer incidents this year than there have been for

years. 59 participants had to go to the hospital, while a year ago the number

was 120. One inline skater had a less serious injury. One participant ended up

in the hospital with a broken bone after a fall.