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Tragic end, Monday, February 06, 2012
post Feb 6 2012, 12:58 PM
Post #1



Alice So from The Standard

Runners have been urged to know their limits after the Standard Chartered Marathon claimed its second life in its 16-year history.

The tragedy has prompted organizers to reconsider whether to require distance runners to provide medical records.

A total of 38 runners were taken to hospital - with two in critical condition in hospital and 35 discharged later.

Lau Chek-lun, who competed in the half-marathon, collapsed about 40 meters after crossing the finish line in Victoria Park. He was pronounced dead at Ruttonjee Hospital at 8.58am.

In 2006, a 53-year-old man died three days after he ran 13 kilometers and collapsed.

Lau also completed the race last year and took part in the 10km challenge race in 2010. He was single and worked as a clerk in an architectural firm.

"Once runners saw him collapse, they tried to perform artificial resuscitation," said William Ko Wai-lam, chairman of the organizing committee, adding the safety of runners is a top priority.

"Three doctors were on duty at the finish line, along with 600 paramedics, nurses and 10 ambulances. We were prepared for any urgent medical condition."

The number of runners taken to hospital was four times more than last year's nine people who were hospitalized after the race.

A 24-year-old woman, Cheung Wai-yi, and a 26-year-old man were in critical condition in Ruttonjee Hospital last night.

Cheung's parents said she was healthy and trained well before the race.

Ko said the organizing team will thoroughly evaluate the race.

But when asked if it is necessary for runners to submit their medical records before taking part, Ko said it is is not a practical suggestion but they would give it thought for next year's event.

Lobo Louie Hung-tak, associate professor in physical education at Baptist University, said: "Out of 100,000 marathon runners, 0.8 would suffer sudden death."

He said the man who died yesterday most likely had hidden health problems. "Although these are unpredictable and congenital medical conditions, runners should be wary of their symptoms, such as dizziness or finding it hard to catch their breath, and seek help straight away," he said.

"Running in the half-marathon requires much more physical strength than the 10 kilometers."

Psychiatrist Ng Kong-man said: "While exercising, the brain releases endorphins and adrenaline, making runners feel hyperactive and less aware of their medical condition than is normal."

The Hong Kong Amateur Athletic Association said this year 658 runners suffered from cramps, 276 had wounds dressed and 17 needed ice packs.

This year's event attracted a record number of runners - 70,000 - compared with 65,000 last year. A total of 59,175 runners completed the race.

Kwan Kee, chairman of Hong Kong Amateur Athletic Association, said the weather this year was perfect, and the more-than-satisfactory conditions resulted in seven males and four females breaking records.
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