Runner Dies as Result of Severe Dehydration

42-year-old man collapsed during Friday's marathon and died of liver damage

A 42-year-old Jerusalem resident who ran in Friday's Tel Aviv Marathon died yesterday after being hospitalized for severe dehydration. The man, a father of two, collapsed during the run and was brought to the emergency room at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv. His condition continued to deteriorate and yesterday morning he was pronounced dead due to liver damage as a result of dehydration.

The man, who competed in the 21-km half-marathon event, collapsed near the end of the race. He was initially treated in the first-aid tent set up by Ichilov staff at the marathon site, and was then rushed to the hospital's intensive-care unit. His condition was described as serious but stable, and he remained conscious despite liver complications. His condition, however, seriously deteriorated on Sunday night, and he lost consciousness. Yesterday at 9 A.M. he was pronounced dead.

"We're not talking about a typical case of sunstroke due to particularly hot weather, but intensive physical effort that produces intense heat in the body," said Prof. Patrick Sorkine, head of the intensive care unit. "In most cases this stage passes without incident, but under certain circumstances it can cause serious complications or even death, especially regarding the brain or liver."

Three runners were taken to the hospital in serious condition during the marathon. The other two recovered within hours. No cause is known for the deceased runner's deterioration. Intensive-care personnel recalled only one similar case in the past, when a soldier in basic training collapsed during a training run and died a few days later in the hospital.

Of the 18,254 runners who participated in Tel Aviv's annual marathon on Friday, 45 were injured, most of them lightly.

According to Sorkine, "Not everyone can run a marathon and exert himself in such a way. Sport can also be dangerous and must be respected. Marathon running is for those who are used to running from a young age, but people want challenges, and the problem is that Israelis know no limits when it comes to seeking challenges. A person should be aware of his limitations - marathons are not suitable for everyone."