earlier this week, i highlighted three feel-good stories from the toronto waterfront marathon.
in the past few days, i’ve enjoyed reading and hearing accounts from various participants. my favourite story is from a colleague at ANOTHERstore: his goal was to beat three hours, but the wheels fell off at about the 32 k mark, and he struggled for the last 10 k. the really kicker, he said, was getting passed by ed whitlock. yup, that’s humbling, eh – having an 80 year beat you to the finish!
at the time i wrote the blog post, i didn’t know about a sad situation that also occurred at the races: a 27 year old participant collapsed and died, near the finish line [i have heard anecdotal reports that he was in the half marathon event, and was sprinting to the finish]. this story received pretty much the same amount of coverage as the top stories i talked about.
please note that i feel very badly and very sad for the young man who passed away, his family and friends – everyone involved. it bothers me, though, when the media blasts stories of a death at a running event. this often-times sensationalistic coverage promotes the misconception that running distance events is dangerous. for people not familiar with marathons (ie the ones who ask “and how long is THIS marathon that you’re doing?” um, all marathons are 42.2 km/26.1 miles!) negative media coverage overrides all of the positive stories of training for and running in a marathon. thousands upon thousands of regular, everyday finishers exemplify the benefits of running and healthy fitness practices, but the media picks up on one sad story and that is what gets tons of attention.
in tuesday’s globe and mail, andré picard wrote a wonderful second opinion column. the piece is moderate in tone, and factual rather than a personal rant. i encourage you to read the entire article:
don’t let deaths scare you off marathons (the title in the newspaper itself was “don’t give up on marathons just yet”)
however if you’d rather have a summary [why don't i just TELL you what it's about!] here are some factual highlights from mr picard’s report:
~ “those who think that marathons are deadly dangerous are grossly misinformed: they don’t understand statistics and science – or, at the very least, choose to not do so to reinforce their prejudices.”
~ “about 50 000 canadians suffer heart attacks each year. almost 40 per cent of them are fatal, meaning 20 000 deaths. on average, two marathoners a year die during races. yet they garner more media attention that [sic] the other 20 000 deaths combined.
~ “the reality is that 95 per cent of those who die during marathons have underlying heart problems – either genetic or lifestyle-related.”
~ “paradoxically, if you’re going to have a heart attack, a marathon is the best place to have one because paramedics and defibrillators are nearby. about 75 per cent of people whose heart stops at a race survive; in everyday life, it’s about 15 per cent.”
~ stated plainly, people die of heart disease, not running.
again, i suggest you read the entire article because my numbers-centric summary
is boring does not do the piece justice, at all.
moving on – this weekend is the niagara marathon! it holds a soft spot in my heart as that is where i ran my very first ‘thon – way back in ’96! the weather is notoriously horrible…fingers crossed they get a good weather year!
where you do get your news from? i used to be an avid newspaper reader, but now i quickly glance through the k-w record and the globe and mail papers online. except on tuesdays when i can steal mom and dad’s globe when they’re in toronto. on wednesdays, i get news from the radio during my drive to TO. i never, ever watch the news on tv!
any type of news reporting that frustrates you? sensationalism and uncalled-for hype (on any subject) rile me.