Runners collapse, one dies, in weekend races

A local high school student is recovering at home after collapsing at the state cross country finals. This, on the same day an elite long-distance runner died in New York the day before the New York Marathon.

In New York, Saturday, long-distance runner Ryan Shay died after running about five miles into an Olympic-qualifying race; not far at all, says UT's cross country coach, Kevin Hadsell.

It wasn't that it was late on in the race. It was shocking because it was so early in the race, at a time where he was barely breaking a sweat, Hadsell says. Shay had an enlarged heart, but autopsy results didn't immediately pinpoint a cause of death.

My opinion, Hadsell says, is it could have happened to him yesterday at any time. It happened to be a marathon, but it could have been training, could have been at home working in the yard.

That same day in Columbus, Saint John TMs Jesuit senior, Joe Miller, also collapsed just short of the finish line.

They just said he stumbled, and no one knew what happened, he tried to get up two, three or four different times, he just couldn't continue, says Brian Miller, Saint John TMs Jesuit TMs Athletic Director.

Joe eventually made it across the finish line on his own. Last year, he came in second at the state finals. Coach Hadsell says it's not unusual to see an athlete collapse just short of the finish.

In order to be a great distance runner, you have to acquire the ability to run to the point of exhaustion for a long period of time, Hadsell says.

He says sickness, dehydration and simple exhaustion are usual causes. But he says it's always a good idea to see a doctor before you hit the trail.

Pay your $35 and get a physical from your doctor, Hadsell says, you never know if there is something medically wrong with you that has never been diagnosed or you've never noticed.

All athletes at Saint John TMs require a physical exam before the season starts. Joe Miller will be back at school, Monday.

The New York medical examiner's office will conduct more tests into Ryan Shay's death.