UK & World News
Is Marathon Running Bad For Your Health?
For most people running a marathon will be the toughest physical challenge of their lives.
But the risk of dying during or after the race is low.
One American study looked at 11 million runners in marathons and half marathons and found just 59 suffered a cardiac arrest. Of these, 42 died.
Over the 31 years of the London Marathon there have been seven deaths confirmed to be caused by heart problems.
Five were in men over 40 who had furred-up arteries. Another two had the genetic heart rhythm disorder hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Claire Squires is the first woman to die in the London race and a post-mortem examination will be carried out to confirm whether she also had an undiagnosed heart condition.
A formal medical examination is not an entry requirement for the London Marathon.
The organisers say anyone with heart disease, asthma, diabetes or epilepsy should seek medical advice before competing.
And all runners are expected to follow a proper training programme over several months. They must also certify themselves as fit to compete on the day.
The British Heart Foundation warns anyone with concerns about their health should see a doctor before training. But for most runners the benefits of exercise far outweigh the risks.