ⓘ List of marathon fatalities. Below is a sortable list of individuals who died as a result of running a marathon. The most-frequent causes are: exertional heat s ..


ⓘ List of marathon fatalities

Below is a sortable list of individuals who died as a result of running a marathon. The most-frequent causes are:

  • exertional heat stroke or severe hyperthermia.
  • sudden cardiac death, triggered by a congenital or acquired heart disorder;
  • exercise-associated hyponatremia or other electrolyte imbalance;

The age distribution ranges widely, from the teens through the 60s.

In 2016, a systematic medical review found that the risk of sudden cardiac death during or immediately after a marathon was between 0.6 and 1.9 deaths per 100.000 participants, varying across the specific studies and the methods used, and not controlling for age or gender. This translates to a few published marathon deaths worldwide in a typical year, although the authors lamented the lack of a central registry for the information.

The second major risk arises from imbalanced fluid or electrolyte levels, particularly hyponatremia. As a marathon medical director described the counter-intuitive and under-publicized risk in 2005: "There are no reported cases of dehydration causing death in the history of world running, but there are plenty of cases of people dying of hyponatremia."

Heat stroke is an emergency condition in which thermoregulation fails and the body temperature rises above 104 °F 40 °C. It becomes a greater risk in warm and humid weather.

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