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November 3, 2007

Death of a Marathoner

I had a nice, lighthearted post ready to roll today, and then I turned on my computer and saw this news:

Ryan Shay Dies During U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials

And now I'm pretty much speechless. This wasn't an undertrained weekend warrior who became dehydrated in the late stages of a race, or a 40-something guy with a latent heart condition; this was a world-class athlete with no previous medical concerns dropping dead in the first 10K of an event during otherwise perfect conditions.

I know I present many more questions than answers on this blog - and today I'm simply on overload. There are countless things in life that don't make any sense - I get that. But this story just pushes the envelope of understanding to the breaking point.

I've always believed that things happen for a reason ... but I'm completely stumped on this one. If anyone can shed any kind of light here, I'd love to hear it.

And obviously, I'm holding the fun post for another day.


Matt 11/3/07, 8:19 PM  

This shocked me as well. I expected to read that it was in mile 20 or so, but mile 6? Definitely makes you think about your own training. I'd hate to hear down the road that he died due to something "extra" he was taking to give him an edge. I hope that's not the case. My prayers are with his family.

Mark Tanaka (Ultrailnakaman) 11/4/07, 5:01 AM  

By the time you read this, you've probably read or heard about his heart, but anyone who hasn't, here's one link:

It's just awful, and it's depressing thinking about how painful it must be for his family and his wife, also a runner. Hope she can get through this-- would be an extra tragedy if this screwed up her own running career.

Everyone stay healthy and safe; don't think just because we are really fit, that we are immune from serious medical problems.

momo 11/4/07, 7:16 AM  

i hadn't heard what the cause was, so thanks above for posting the link to the update. it is so incredibly sad. i'm heartbroken for his family and especially his new wife.

i wonder though - he came from a running family. it was his life. he was diagnosed with the enlarged heart and it is potentially that which killed him.

if you knew there was a possibility that something could someday happen, would you stop doing something you loved and were amazingly good at? what do you think, donald?

Backofpack 11/4/07, 3:17 PM  

Donald, I'm sure you've checked the link above, and I'm sure you now know the cause. It's tragic and so sad. I would guess he knew the risks and chose to take it.

The thing that is hard is that so often the doctors don't really know what impact endurance sports will have on various heart conditions. I know that I run a risk every time I start a run. But you know...life isn't for living from the sidelines. Life is for getting in and doing, and in this case, he was given an all clear. I don't know the answer...I'm not even sure I know the answer for me, so I just forge ahead.

Makita 11/4/07, 7:37 PM  

Terribly sad. As Michelle said, "Life isn't for living from the sidelines..." I would much rather be out there giving in my all, doing what I love... I'm sure Ryan felt the same way.

David 11/6/07, 7:05 PM  

When it's your time I hope you're doing something or in a place that means something to you.
Sad as it is, Ryan had that in spades on Saturday.

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