Marathon Claims A Life

Sunday, October 7th 2007, 6:03 pm
By: News On 6

CHICAGO (AP) In a race run in scorching heat that left one man dead, Kenya's Patrick Ivuti won the Chicago Marathon by a fraction of a second Sunday. More than 300 runners were taken to hospitals because of heat-related ailments.

The 88-degree heat and sweltering humidity were so draining that organizers shut down the second half of the course four hours after the start.

Patrick Ivuti leaned at the finish line to edge Jaouad Gharib of Morocco by 0.05 seconds. Ethiopia's Berhane Adere rallied to successfully defend her women's title.

Chad Schieber of Midland, Mich., 35, collapsed while running on the South Side and was pronounced dead shortly before 1 pm at a Veteran's Affairs hospital, the Cook County medical examiner's office. An autopsy was scheduled for Monday.

``Obviously very sad news, and our thoughts and prayers are with the individual's family,'' said Shawn Platt, senior vice president of title sponsor LaSalle Bank.

These were record temperatures for the Chicago Marathon, topping the mark of 84 degrees in 1979. Runners were diverted to the starting area, where they were provided with medical attention and cooling misters. Shortages of water and energy drinks were reported along the 26.2-mile route.

``We're seeing a lot of our participants slowing,'' race director Carey Pinkowski said. ``It was a contingency plan we had in place and we decided to implement as a precautionary measure.''

At first, organizers hoped those who passed the halfway mark could complete the run. But eventually even those recreational runners were told to turn back.

Still, some runners persevered, although organizers said they didn't know how many completed the course. Helicopters hovered over the race course while police officers shouted through a bullhorn and warned runners to slow down and walk.

About 10,000 of the 45,000 registered runners chose to not race in the heat despite more mist stations, cooling buses and water-soaked sponges, while another 10,934 started but didn't finish, officials said.