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Death By Triathlon
Training for a triathlon means, for many people, getting in the best shape of their lives. They have become well trained in three cardiovascular activities and have spent loads of time honing their workout plans to help build muscular strength. But we’re bound to venture a guess that no athlete enters into an event, such as the triathlon, with thoughts of dying in the midst of competing.
That’s exactly what happened, however, to two men who competed in triathlon events in late July. They were the seventh and eighth triathletes to die this year, following a 32-year-old man who died during the New York City Triathlon.
This is not to say that plans of training for a triathlon should be taken off the calendar; experts maintain that the deaths do not suggest an epidemic. But one thing to note is that all triathlon deaths reported by USA Triathlon have taken place during the swim portion of the events.
Doctors say that this is strange given the fact that deaths during marathons, for example, often occur throughout the 26.2 miles with the largest portion coming at the end of the race. In the case of triathlons, the competitors are dying when swimming, the first part of the event. Join this with the fact that the majority of the deaths were of experienced male athletes, which leaves health professionals scratching their heads.
Some say the losses may be linked to heart complications, such as abnormal heart rhythms. Doctors also say that such conditions are more likely to turn fatal when swimming than during a bike or run. One physician noted that, “Water is not a forgiving environment,” referring to the ability for water to turn a health problem into a drowning situation.
Training for a triathlon? Be sure to get a full checkup and attend safety meetings that are often held prior to an event. You’ll learn tips, like, if you are experiencing a problem in the water, then you should stop and raise your hand.
If you’re not ready to dive into a triathlon, take a look at our getting in shape advice. [New York Times]