List of marathon fatalities

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Below is a sortable list of individuals who died as a result of running a marathon. The most-frequent causes are:

  1. sudden cardiac death, triggered by a congenital or acquired heart disorder;
  2. exercise-associated hyponatremia or other electrolyte imbalance;
  3. exertional heat stroke or severe hyperthermia.

The age distribution ranges widely, from the teens through the 60s.

In 2016, a systematic medical review found that the risk of sudden cardiac death during or immediately after a marathon was between 0.6 and 1.9 deaths per 100,000 participants, varying across the specific studies and the methods used, and not controlling for age or gender. This translates to a few published marathon deaths worldwide in a typical year, although the authors lamented the lack of a central registry for the information.[1]

The second major risk arises from imbalanced fluid or electrolyte levels, particularly hyponatremia (sodium deficiency, overhydration, or water intoxication). As a marathon medical director described the counter-intuitive and under-publicized risk in 2005: "There are no reported cases of dehydration causing death in the history of world running, but there are plenty of cases of people dying of hyponatremia."[2]

Heat stroke is an emergency condition in which thermoregulation fails and the body temperature rises above 104 °F (40 °C). It becomes a greater risk in warm and humid weather.[3]

Origin Name [ref.] Age Marathon date Event Location Cause / Notes
Greece Pheidippides[4] c.40 12 September 490 BC Battle of Marathon,
then c.26 mi (42 km) run
Marathon, Greece
to Athens
death honored by the modern marathon
Portugal Francisco Lázaro[5] 21 15 July 1912 Olympic Marathon Stockholm, Sweden electrolyte imbalance
France Jacques Bussereau[6] 48 28 October 1984 New York City Marathon New York City, US heart attack
United Kingdom Duncan Kerr[7] 28 22 September 1985 Glasgow Marathon Glasgow, UK pneumonia
United States Martin A. Wurst, Jr.[8] 32 2 November 1986 Marine Corps Marathon Washington, DC, US coronary artery disease
United States Edwin Brown[9] 47 14 December 1986 Dallas Marathon Dallas, US heart attack
United States Thomas Becker[10] 40 8 October 1989 Twin Cities Marathon Minneapolis, US heart attack
United States William McKinney[11] 59 4 March 1990 Los Angeles Marathon Los Angeles, US heart attack
United States Lisa B. Christensen[12] 19 4 November 1990 Marine Corps Marathon Washington, DC, US coronary artery abnormality
United States Julius Becza[13] 58 24 October 1993 Marine Corps Marathon Washington, DC, US heart attack
United States Samuel Grafton[14] 42 16 October 1994 Detroit Marathon Detroit, US heart attack
Switzerland Pierre Marguet[15] 27 6 November 1994 New York City Marathon New York City, US heart attack; and also for an unnamed second fatality
Sweden Humphrey Siesage[16] 61 15 April 1996 Boston Marathon Boston, US heart attack
United States Kelly Barrett[17] 43 11 October 1998 Chicago Marathon Chicago, US hyponatremia
United Kingdom Don Scott[18] 48 26 September 1999 Robin Hood Marathon Nottingham, UK heart attack
United States Danny Towns[17] 45 22 October 2000 Chicago Marathon Chicago, US heart attack
United States Luke Roach[17] 22 7 October 2001 Chicago Marathon Chicago, US heat stroke
United States Laura M. Clancy[19] 29 20 October 2001 Baltimore Marathon Baltimore, US brain aneurysm
Ecuador Cynthia Lucero[20] 28 15 April 2002 Boston Marathon Boston, US hyponatremia
United States Hilary Bellamy[20] 35 27 October 2002 Marine Corps Marathon Washington, DC, US hyponatremia
United Kingdom Craig Johanson[18] 28 14 September 2003 Robin Hood Marathon Nottingham, UK cardiac arrhythmia
United States Rachael Townsend[21] 29 12 October 2003 Chicago Marathon Chicago, US mitral valve prolapse
United States James Leone[11] 60 19 March 2006 Los Angeles Marathon Los Angeles, US heart attack
United States Raul Reyna[11] 53 19 March 2006 Los Angeles Marathon Los Angeles, US heart attack
United States William Goggins[22] 43 30 July 2006 San Francisco Marathon San Francisco, US hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
United States George Spears, Sr.[23] 49 1 October 2006 Twin Cities Marathon Minneapolis, US heart attack
United States Earl Seyford[24] 56 29 October 2006 Marine Corps Marathon Washington, DC, US heart attack
United States Marc Witkes[25] 40 10 December 2006 Tucson Marathon Tucson, US congenital heart abnormalities
United Kingdom David Rogers[26] 22 22 April 2007 London Marathon London, UK hyponatremia
United States Chad Schieber[27] 35 7 October 2007 Chicago Marathon Chicago, US mitral valve prolapse
United States Ryan Shay[28] 28 3 November 2007 USA Marathon Championships New York City, US cardiac arrhythmia
United States Adam Nickel[29] 27 2 March 2008 Little Rock Marathon Little Rock, US coronary artery abnormality;
electrolyte imbalance
Brazil Carlos Jose Gomes[30] 58 2 November 2008 New York City Marathon New York City, US heart attack
United States Joseph Marotta[30] 66 2 November 2008 New York City Marathon New York City, US heart attack
United States Fred Costa[30] 41 2 November 2008 New York City Marathon New York City, US heart attack
United States Erin Lahr[31] 29 14 December 2008 Dallas Marathon Dallas, US cardiac arrhythmia
Republic of Ireland Colin Dunne[32] 27 1 March 2009 Barcelona Marathon Barcelona, Spain heart attack
United States Peter Curtin[33] 23 10 October 2009 Baltimore Marathon Baltimore, US undetermined;
body temperature 107 °F (42 °C)
United States William Caviness[34] 35 9 October 2011 Chicago Marathon Chicago, US heart attack
United States Ulysses Thomas[35] 58 5 November 2011 Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Savannah, US
United Kingdom Claire Squires[36] 30 22 April 2012 London Marathon London, UK heart attack, DMAA supplement
Spain Xavier Jiménez[37] 45 17 March 2013 Barcelona Marathon Barcelona, Spain heart attack
United Kingdom Sam Harper Brighouse[38] 23 14 April 2013 Brighton Marathon Brighton, UK ischemic colitis
United States R. Jacob Zeman[39] 35 9 November 2013 Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Savannah, US "unsuspected heart condition"
United Kingdom Robert Berry[40] 42 13 April 2014 London Marathon London, UK heat stroke
United Kingdom Mike Freeman[41] 55 28 February 2016 Vodafone Malta Marathon Sliema, Malta "natural causes"
United Kingdom David Seath[42] 31 24 April 2016 London Marathon London, UK heart attack
United Kingdom Matt Campbell[43] 29

26 November 2017 2017 Curaçao Marathon Rob Bremer Curaçao

22 April 2018 London Marathon London, UK Cardiac arrest
United Kingdom Juan Camilo Arboleda Alzate[44] 38 17 September 2018 Medellín Marathon Medellín, Colombia heart attack
Chile Claudio Agurto Spencer[45] 51 7 April 2019 Maratón de Santiago Santiago, Chile Aortic dissection
Taylor Ceepo[46] 22 19 May 2019 Cleveland Marathon Cleveland, US

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Waite, Oliver; Smith, Andy; Madge, Luke; Spring, Hannah; Noret, Nathalie (January 2016). "Sudden cardiac death in marathons: a systematic review". The Physician and Sportsmedicine. 44 (1): 79–84. doi:10.1080/00913847.2016.1135036. PMID 26765272.
  2. ^ "Marathoners Warned About Too Much Water", The New York Times, 20 October 2005.
  3. ^ Armstrong, Lawrence E.; Casa, Douglas J.; Millard-Stafford, Mindy; Moran, Daniel S.; Pyne, Scott W.; Roberts, William O.; Roberts, W. O. (March 2007). "American College of Sports Medicine position stand: Exertional heat illness during training and competition". Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 39 (3): 556–572. doi:10.1249/MSS.0b013e31802fa199. PMID 17473783.
  4. ^ "Bristol team to mark 2,500th anniversary of the first marathon", University of Bristol, 7 September 2011.
  5. ^ "Francisco Lázaro, a emborcação no treino", Fórum Olímpico de Portugal.
  6. ^ "The splendor of the New York City Marathon was...", UPI, 29 October 1984.
  7. ^ "Can Running Kill?", Scotland's Runner, August 1986.
  8. ^ "Marine Who Died During Marathon Here Had Undiagnosed Heart Ailment", Washington Post, 4 November 1986.
  9. ^ "Dallas White Rock Marathon: The Seventeenth Annual Running", December 1986.
  10. ^ "Runner dies after finishing", St. Cloud Times, 9 October 1989.
  11. ^ a b c "Exuberance of L.A. Marathon Tempered by Runners' Deaths", Los Angeles Times, 20 March 2006.
  12. ^ "Marathon's No Random Killer, But No Running From Death", Washington Post, 12 November 1990.
  13. ^ "Runner's Heart Attack Was Waiting to Happen", Washington Post, 30 October 1993.
  14. ^ "Runner, 42, collapses and dies", Detroit Free Press, 17 October 1994.
  15. ^ "New York City Marathon: Two Runners Are Dead From Cardiac Arrest", The New York Times, 7 November 1994. "A second runner, a man approximately 45 years old whose name was not released by St. Luke's Hospital or marathon officials, also died."
  16. ^ "Heartbreak Hill Claims Another Victim", Associated Press, 16 April 1996.
  17. ^ a b c "How marathons can kill you", Chicago Sun-Times, 6 October 2002.
  18. ^ a b "Marathon death man named", BBC, 15 September 2003.
  19. ^ "Marathon Runner Collapses, Dies", The Baltimore Sun, 11 October 2009.
  20. ^ a b "Too Much of a Good Thing", The Washington Times, 23 October 2003.
  21. ^ "Coach copes with wife's death", The Columbus Dispatch, 27 January 2004.
  22. ^ "The Fit Man's Heart Threat", Men's Health, 23 August 2007.
  23. ^ "Man who died in Twin Cities Marathon was experienced runner", Associated Press, 2 October 2006.
  24. ^ "Runner collapses, dies during Marine Corps Marathon", Associated Press, 30 October 2006.
  25. ^ "Man who died in marathon had congenital heart disease", Tucson Citizen, 23 January 2007.
  26. ^ "Marathon victim died from drinking too MUCH water", Daily Mail, 24 April 2007.
  27. ^ "Autopsy: Man who died in Chicago Marathon had heart condition", Associated Press, 8 October 2007.
  28. ^ "Ryan Shay dies in U.S. Olympic marathon trials", USA Today, 3 November 2007.
  29. ^ "Doctors: Ark. marathon runner died of rare mix of heart condition, electrolyte abnormalities", Associated Press, 7 April 2008.
  30. ^ a b c "Secrets of the New York City Marathon". amNewYork. 4 November 2016.
  31. ^ "Heart condition caused White Rock Marathon runner's death", The Dallas Morning News, 2 March 2009.
  32. ^ "Teacher dies from heart attack during marathon", The Independent, 2 March 2009.
  33. ^ "Runner Was MIT Student; N.C. Native Died During The Baltimore Marathon Saturday", The Baltimore Sun, 13 October 2009.
  34. ^ "Capt William Lee 'Will' Caviness", Find A Grave, October 2011.
  35. ^ "Marathon runner was 'picture of health,' wife says", Savannah Morning News, 9 November 2011.
  36. ^ "Claire Squires inquest: DMAA was factor in marathon runner's death", BBC, 30 January 2013.
  37. ^ "Muere un atleta en el maratón de Barcelona", El Periódico de Aragón, 17 March 2013.
  38. ^ "Brighton marathon runner died from bowel failure", The Guardian, 28 August 2013.
  39. ^ "Mr. Robert Jacob (Jake) Zeman obituary",, 11 November 2013.
  40. ^ "London marathon runner died yards from finish after his body overheated", London Evening Standard, 28 August 2014.
  41. ^ "Marathon runner died of natural causes – police", Times of Malta, 1 March 2016.
  42. ^ "London Marathon runner David Seath dies after collapsing near finish line", The Guardian, 25 April 2016.
  43. ^ "London Marathon: Masterchef semi-finalist Matt Campbell dies", BBC News, 22 April 2017.
  44. ^ "Medellin half-marathon chaos as runner hit by a car while fellow participant dies". The Sun. 2018-09-17. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  45. ^ "Murió maratonista en la Marathon De Santiago". El Mostrador. 2019-03-07. Retrieved 2019-03-19.
  46. ^ "Woman, 22, dies in Cleveland Marathon; soccer player was graduate of St. V-M and Walsh University".

Further reading[edit]