Three who died in Detroit race described as healthy
The deaths of three runners who collapsed during a 13.1-mile half marathon in Detroit appear to have been an aberration, but at least six runners have died while competing in such events in the last two months. Autopsies were inconclusive Monday on the bodies of Rick Brown, 65, of Marietta, Ohio; Daniel Langdon, 36, of Laingsburg in central Michigan; and Jonathan Fenlon, 26, of Waterford, northwest of Detroit. The Wayne County medical examiner has requested toxicology tests.
The three died Sunday during or after running a half marathon at the Detroit Free Press/Flagstar Bank Marathon. Brown and Langdon collapsed near the end of the race, and Fenlon died after crossing the finish line. Friends and family of the men said they had trained for the 13.1-mile race and were in great shape.
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Their deaths follow those of two runners in their mid-thirties who died earlier this month while running a half marathon in San Jose, Calif., and a 23-year-old man who died in September after collapsing during a half marathon in Virginia Beach, Va.
"This is definitely atypical. In a given year, you're looking at four to six deaths," said Ryan Lamppa, a researcher for Colorado Springs-based nonprofit Running USA. "Some years are higher. Some years are lower."
There are about 0.8 deaths for every 100,000 runners who complete a marathon, Lamppa said. He said he did not immediately know the rate of death for overall participants in full or half marathons.
"Almost all of the runner deaths we hear about, it's always described as he or she is in great health," said Jean Knaack, executive director of Arlington, Va.-based Road Runners Club of America, a nonprofit promoting long distance running.
"Even if they are runners and are doing all the right things, they might have a genetic heart condition," Knaack said. "No matter what, whenever you start an exercise program or whether you are a beginning runner, you should consult with your doctor. Regular runners need annual physicals."
Train halts runners in Iowa marathon
The leaders in the Des Moines Marathon could see the finish line — they just had to wait a bit. A passing freight train forced the two leaders in the 26.2-mile race to wait for about a minute Sunday just 400 meters, or about a quarter mile, from the finish line. When the train finally passed, Kenyan Simon Sawe sprinted to a win in 2 hours, 24 minutes, 50 seconds. He won $3,000.
Race director Chris Burch said Monday it was an unfortunate circumstance beyond the control of race organizers.
"It's one of those things, when I heard through our communications — what can you do at that time?" Burch asked.
Sawe said he was shocked when he made a turn onto the final stretch and saw the freight cars.
"Nobody is prepared for that scenario," Sawe told The Des Moines Register. "I couldn't believe it. It was a long train."
As he waited, fellow Kenyan David Tuwei caught up, and the two could do nothing but wait before sprinting the final stretch. Sawe won by about 5 seconds.
Mick Burkhart, Iowa Interstate Railroad vice president, apologized via e-mail. He said the railroad was aware of the race and had agreed not to operate in the area during the marathon.
"Due to some miscommunication, a train was allowed into the race area before it was supposed to," he said. "There is no excuse for this happening."
Goalie honored league-record 6th time
Kentucky senior goalkeeper Dan Williams was named Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week for the league-record tying sixth time in his career. Williams, a native of Fairfax Station, Va., helped UK defeat South Carolina and Louisville this past week. This season Williams has a 0.85 goals-against average in 14 games and 1,271 minutes. Kentucky's next match is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday against Southern Methodist at the UK Soccer Complex.
■ Kentucky volleyball freshman Stephanie Klefot, a Louisville native, was named the Southeastern Conference's Freshman Player of the Week. Klefot's play in the back row helped the Wildcats (19-1, 9-0) sweep Mississippi State and Alabama this past weekend.
Mariners' Johjima opts out of contract
The Mariners' experiment of having the first Japanese catcher in the major leagues has ended two years early. Kenji Johjima opted out of the final two seasons and $15.8 million of his contract, allowing him to sign with a Japanese team.
Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik said Monday the decision came somewhat unexpectedly over the weekend, and that it was solely Johjima's. Zduriencik said the Mariners did not pay any money to buy out their former starting catcher, who said last season he was struggling to accept Seattle benching him in favor of rookie Rob Johnson.
Johjima's contract gave him the right to end it by Nov. 15 for the purpose of finishing his career in Japan. He gave up salaries of $7.7 million next year and $8.1 million in 2011. Johjima hit .268 in his four seasons with Seattle, with 48 homers and 198 RBI in 462 games.
■ The world's fastest man has received one of his Caribbean homeland's highest honors. Usain Bolt received the Order of Jamaica award during Monday's heritage celebrations in the capital, Kingston. At 23, Bolt is the youngest person to receive the honor. In recent weeks, Jamaica has also renamed a highway after the Olympic and world 100 and 200-meter champion and record-holder.
■ Marvin Williams had 16 points and six rebounds and Al Horford added 14 points and six rebounds to lead the host Atlanta Hawks to a 113-95 pre-season victory over the Washington Wizards on Monday night. Former Kentucky center Randolph Morris had four points and five rebounds in just under ten minutes for the Hawks.
■ U.S. soccer national team forward Charlie Davies was moved out of intensive care at Washington Hospital Center Medstar as he recovers from serious injuries after a car accident. Davis will have surgery early next week to repair a broken left elbow and may require operations to repair facial fractures.
The last word
Rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez accepted much of the blame for the New York Jets' overtime loss to the Bills on Sunday:
"I don't know if I could play any worse. It was totally my fault and I owe these guys a lot. ... Of the (Jets') six games — three losses — two of them I felt like you can blame No. 6 on offense. That's not a good feeling. I've got to turn this thing around."