There are different types of running like jogging and sprinting. Jogging is usually considered a running at a speed less than 6 miles per hour while sprinting is characterized by short-distance running like 100, 200, or 400-meter race such as the events organized in the Summer Olympics or World Championship. It is generally considered that running enhances cardiovascular fitness, but contrarily, quite a few cases are on record that demonstrate there are famous runners who died of heart attacks while running or died at an early age. Hyponatremia, a condition of excessive water content resulting in an electrolyte disturbance and a reduced salt concentration, has also been considered as one of the causes of death during running. It is customary to consume an excess of water prior to running proactively to prevent dehydration, but the practice may result in dangerous hyponatremia. It is probably for this reason that walking is preferred to jogging and is recommended for people with some cardiac trouble.
1. Jim Fixx
Jim Fuller Fixx, better known as Jim Fixx, was born in New York City, New York, U.S. on April 23, 1932, and died of a heart attack in Hardwick during his daily routine of running. An autopsy discovered that one after the other, his three coronary arteries were blocked by 90, 85, and 70 percent. Whereas atherosclerosis is said to be the root cause of his death, his congenitally enlarged heart is a factor which is not ruled out by some experts. He was the son of Calvin Fix, an Editor of TIME who also died of a heart attack at the age of 43. Fixx graduated from Trinity School in New York and Oberlin College in Ohio. Fixx started running at the age of 35 when he was used to smoking two packets of cigarettes daily and weighed 110 kgs. After ten years when he wrote his best-selling book The Complete Book of Running, he had quit smoking completely and weighed only 83 kgs. Fixx is credited with popularizing running in America.
2. Grete Waitz
Grete Waitz was born in Oslo, Norway on October 1, 1953 and died of cancer in Oslo, Norway on April 19, 2011 at the age of 57. She was the sixth woman to be buried in a state of honor in the history of Norway. She was the former world record holder and marathon runner. She had won New York Marathon 9 times during 1978 to 1988. She won a silver medal in the 1984 Summer Olympics and a gold medal in the 1983 World Championships in Athletics in Helenski.
3. Dr. George Sheehan, M.D.
George A. Sheehan was born in Brooklyn, New York on November 5, 1918 and died of prostate cancer on November 1, 1993. He was a cardiologist and served as a doctor in the U.S. Navy during World War II and is best known for his New York Times best seller book Running & Being: The Total Experience. He used to say, ‘Don’t be concerned if running or exercise will add years to your life’¦be concerned with adding life to your years.’ Dr. George A. Sheehan died on November 1, 1993 just 4 days before his 75th birthday.
4. Steve Roland Prefontaine
Steve Roland Prefontaine was born to Raymond Prefontaine and Elfriede in Coos Bay, Oregon, U.S. on January 25, 1951 and died in Eugene, Oregon, U.S. on May 30, 1975 at the young age of 24 in a car accident. He was a middle and long-distance runner and once held the American record for the 2,000 and 10,000 meters events. He set the American record in the 5,000 meter race, and he qualified for the 1972 Summer Olympic games in Munich. Returning from a party after dropping off a friend, while driving near Hendricks Park, his orange, 1973 MGB convertible swerved and collided with a rock causing his on-the-spot death.
5. Micah True
Micah True was born in Oakland, California on November 10, 1953 and died of cardiac arrhythmia while running on March 27, 2012 at the age of 58 in Gila Wilderness, New Mexico, U.S. True is best known for organizing a race for the native Tarahumara natives to help them preserve their culture. He conceived the idea of organizing a race of American ultra runners against the Tarahumara. The winner was awarded a cash prize while all those who completed the race were awarded corn seed vouchers. The event started in 2003. On March 27, 2012, he left from the Wilderness Lodge in Gila with an intent to run 12 miles but did not return. An intense search was conducted involving three aircraft, searchers on horseback, and many friends and marathon runners. It ended with finding his body with his legs in a stream. The local sheriff did not find any signs of trauma.
6. Sadako Sasaki
Sadako Sasaki was born on January 7, 1943 in Hiroshima and died of what her mother called the ‘Atom Bomb Disease’ on October 25, 1955. She is best remembered as a runner and for making origami cranes. She was only two years old when the atomic bomb was dropped in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. She was blown out of a window and later found by her mother. After ten years she developed swelling on her neck and behind the ears followed by purplish spots on her legs. She was hospitalized on February 21, 1955. A friend made for her an origami crane during his visit to her, and she started making origami cranes with an intent to complete 1,000 cranes to regain her health. Sadako died on October 25, 1955 at the age of 12. A statue of Sadako has been erected in Hiroshima in her memory.
7. Bill Smith
Bill Smith was born in May, 1936 and died in the Forest of Bowland, Lancashire, England in September, 2011. He was a legendary ‘fell runner’ who climbed many peaks within 24 hours. ‘Fell running’ is running in a mountainous area and requires extreme patience, tolerance, navigation, and survival skills. Survival kits are allowed under the guidance of the organizers. His body was found in a peat bog on October 7, 2011. A peat bog is a sort of wetland containing dead and decaying organic material like leaves and moss etc.
8. Claire Squires
Claire Squires was a healthy, 30-year-old woman who participated in the 2012 London Marathon and collapsed just a mile or so short of the finish line. She had opened a page on Facebook titled ‘Just Giving’ to raise money to help Samaritans. Soon after the release of her death, an overwhelming response from grieved people prompted an accumulation of more than £1 million within a short period. Nothing is known about the cause of her death with certainty. It is, however, considered that either cardiac arrest or hyponatremia might have been the cause of her death.
9. Glenn Cunningham
Glenn Verniss Cunningham, better known as Glenn Cunningham, was born to Henry Clinton Cunningham and Rosa Agnes Cunningham in Atlanta, Kansas on August 4, 1909 and died in Menifee, Arkansas on April 10, 1988 at the age of 78. While attending school his legs were severely burned during a fire accident. His brother expired in that incident while he survived, and doctors opined that he would not be able to walk again. However, he set a world record in the mile run of 4:04.4. He secured fourth position in the 1932 Olympics in the 1500 meter race and won a silver medal in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
10. Brian Maxwell
Brian Maxwell was born in 1953 in London, England but raised in Toronto, Canada and died in San Anselmo, California on March 19, 2004. He graduated from the University of California, Berkley. He is best known for being the founder of a nutritious product called the ‘Power Bar’ for athletes. Track and Field News ranked him third among all the marathoners in the world. Maxwell collapsed at a post office and was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. He died of a heart attack at the age of 51.
Different philosophies apply to different exercises. Yoga, for example, focuses on lowering the heart rate and is more concerned with the longevity of life, whereas running focuses on flushing blood into the extremities and is concerned more with the intensity of life. Running explores the maximum tolerance limits. According to some estimates and dictates of human physiology, a runner’s top speed cannot be maintained for more than 35 seconds due to a progressive accumulation of lactic acid. From the ancient events of the Roman stadia to the modern London marathons, running has been a regular feature of athletics.