This research paper (below) was recently
published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine about mortality among
marathon runners in the USA between 2000 and 2009. Only 28 cases were found (6
women and 22 men), out of 3,718,336 marathoners. The death ratio has not
changed from 2000 to 2009, despite a marked increase of runners completing a
marathon event (299,018 in 2000 vs. 473,354 in 2009).
Makes us wondering if running is safer than having a sedentary lifestyle?
Enjoy your run!
Marathon Runners in the United States, 2000-2009.
Am J Sports Med. 2012 May 4. Mathews SC,
Narotsky DL, Bernholt DL, Vogt M, Hsieh YH, Pronovost PJ, Pham JC.
Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore,
As participation in marathon running has increased, there has also been concern
regarding its safety.
To determine if the increase in marathon participation from 2000 to 2009 has
affected mortality and overall performance.
Descriptive epidemiology study.
We used publicly available racing and news databases to analyze the number of
marathon races, finishing race times, and deaths from 2000 to 2009 in marathons
in the United States.
The total number of marathon finishers has increased over this decade from
299,018 in 2000 to 473,354 in 2009. The average overall marathon finishing time
has remained unchanged from 2000 to 2009 (4:34:47 vs 4:35:28; P = .85). Of
3,718,336 total marathon participants over the 10-year study period, we
identified 28 people (6 women and 22 men) who died during the marathon race and
up to 24 hours after finishing. The overall, male, and female death rates for
the 10-year period were 0.75 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.38-1.13), 0.98
(95% CI, 0.48-1.36), and 0.41 (95% CI, 0.21-0.79) deaths per 100,000 finishers,
respectively. There was no change in the death rate during this time period for
overall, male, or female groups (P = .860, .533, and .238, respectively). The
median age among deaths was 41.5 years (interquartile range, 25.5 years). Fifty
percent (14/28) of deaths occurred in participants less than 45 years old.
Myocardial infarction/atherosclerotic heart disease caused 9 3% (13/14) of
deaths in those 45 years and older. A variety of conditions caused death in
younger racers, the most common being cardiac arrest not otherwise specified
(21%, n = 3).
Participation in marathons has increased without any change in mortality or
average overall performance from 2000 to 2009.