Wed, Oct 10, 2007 - Page 18 News List

Runner's death blamed on heart ailment

AP , CHICAGO

A heart condition, not record-setting heat, killed a man who died running during an unusually hot and humid Chicago Marathon, an autopsy showed on Monday.

Chad Schieber, 35, collapsed well into Sunday's race, leading to speculation his death was related to the 31oC temperatures that forced organizers to announce they were halting the race. Several other people collapsed, and at least two remained in critical condition on Monday.

The medical examiner's office said Schieber had mitral valve prolapse and did not die from the heat, the Cook County Medical Examiner's office said.

The condition is a "common heart disorder" in which the valve between the "heart's left upper chamber and lower left chamber does not close properly," according to MayoClinic.com. It is in most cases harmless, but sometimes requires treatment, the Web site says.

Schieber, a police officer from the state of Michigan, was pronounced dead shortly before 1pm at a Veteran's Affairs hospital, to the medical examiner's office said.

At least 49 people were taken to hospitals, while 250 were treated onsite, many for heat-related ailments. About 10,000 of the 45,000 registered runners never even showed up, while 10,934 started but didn't finish, officials said.

Within two hours of the 8am start time, temperatures had already reached a race record of 31oC. The previous marathon record of 29oC was set in 1979. The high heat index prompted organizers to stop the race at 11:30am.

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