Originally Posted on October 12, 2011 by Jeff Schmelz
Here we are, days after the Chicago marathon and there are a lot of stiff, reo, but happy finishers hobbling around, telling everyone who will listen how great the experience was. I can’t help but smile at the thought, but not everyone had a great day. Some runners struggled to finish and others dropped out short of 26.2. Unfortunately, one runner collapsed on Sunday just shy of the finish line and died a short time later. This is horrible and my heartfelt condolences go out to this family and friends. I am angered that there are people in this world that wan to use the unfortunate death of a participant as an example of why no one should run.
I am sick and tired of hearing individuals say things like “that’s what happens when you do crazy things” or “that’s why you will never catch me doing that!” Whenever; there is a death at a marathon, triathlon or any physically challenging event. I am always sorry to hear of anyone passing away at an event, but I can’t help but think that they would rather die doing something they love than by car accident, cancer or some other means.
I hope to be doing something I love when my time comes instead of trying to cross the street or shoveling my walk and it just so happens that I love to be active. I enjoy running marathons and doing triathlons. As a matter of fact, I spend much of my free time (vacationing included) doing thing that many others call “crazy.” I know it is not for everyone and I am perfectly okay with that. Each person must find their own path to happiness and fulfillment. What annoys me si that there are those that feel the need to use rare tragedies to put down what makes the lives of many happier and healthier.
Yes, people have died doing just about everything athletic at some point in time, but that doesn’t mean that no one should ever run, swim, bicycle or hike. Instead it should remind us to enjoy every moment as much as we can because the end could come at any time. I didn’t always think this way myself. As a child, I was the pudgy kid and only ran if I was chasing someone or being chased. In college, I was all about beer bongs and keggers. Why climb a mountain? or jump out of an airplane? or ride a bicycle across the country? (OK, even I admit now that was a bit nutty.) I could always turn to TV or movies if I needed a thrill. Then I had to deal with a friend becoming terminally ill at 21!?! What the hell?! All of a sudden, I realized that there are no guarantees Sure, I take certain risks, while riding my bike in the city, hiking up a water fall or running a marathon, but it sure beats sitting around wondering what if?