Entries in Marathons (3)


Father to Blind Daughter Runs Marathon Blindfolded for Vision Research

John Foxx/Thinkstock(PITTSBURGH) – One of the thousands of runners who finished the Pittsburgh Marathon on Sunday did so without ever seeing the course.

Mike Bruno, 44, ran the 26.2 mile race while blindfolded to raise money for vision research. Bruno’s 7-year-old daughter, Cassie, has been blind since she was born prematurely at 25 weeks.

Cassie weighed only 1 pound 14 ounces when she was born, and had to stay in the neonatal intensive care unit for 114 days before her parents were able to bring her home, her father said.

“In the micro-preemies, the eyes are the last thing to develop and her retinas detached,” Bruno explained, “and that's what happened in her case.”

He decided to run the marathon to raise money and awareness for what his daughter deals with on a daily basis.

Bruno, the Women’s Volleyball coach at Point Park University asked his friend, Point Park cross country coach Jim Irwin, to be his trainer and sighted-guide

Bruno says everyone has been very supportive of his effort.

“The outpouring of support, the kindness, the generosity, has exceeded anything I could have ever imagined,” he said.

After crossing the finish line, Bruno was emotional.

“Really really touched my heart, I think at the age of 44, I don't think I'll ever be able to top this one,” Bruno said. “And you know, if you're going to write your legacy I think that helping others is a great way to do it.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Woman Runs Marathon After Surviving Breast Cancer, Heart Transplant

Toni Wild(NEW ORLEANS) -- Toni Wild finished her first marathon on Sunday, an impressive feat for anybody. Still, what makes Wild’s accomplishment so incredible is that she had to overcome two bouts with breast cancer and heart failure to run it.

Wild, 50, was first diagnosed with breast cancer at age 29 in 1992. Chemotherapy and radiation left her cancer-free for five years. Tragically, a mere week after she had been given a clean bill of health, her husband was struck and killed by a car while changing a tire during a trip the two of them had taken.

Doctors asked whether Wild wanted to donate his organs, something they'd never talked about before.

"I made that decision," she said. "I was actually able to provide three families with a second chance at life.”

Her breast cancer came back a year after that. She would have to undergo more chemotherapy and radiation, but once again she was cancer-free by 1998.

However, all that chemotherapy had done damage to her heart. After an initial struggle to get doctors to listen to her suspicion that she had more than a minor illness, she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure,  three months after her last round of chemotherapy. Her heart wasn't able to pump enough blood to the rest of her body.

For the next 11 years, Wild lived with varying signs and symptoms of heart failure, but medications and regular rest allowed her to live normally. The extreme fatigue and shortness of breath returned when she was 46. Wild's heart was worn out, and if she didn't get a heart transplant, she would die.

Only a week after doctors put her on the transplant list, the phone rang. She had a heart.

“It makes me realize there's so much truth in the statement of 'paying it forward,'" she said. "In 1997, when I decided to donate my husband's organs, I had absolutely no idea, would not even fathom the thought that, years down the road, I would find myself in that exact situation of needing a heart."

Now, she runs simply because she can. She says her donor allowed her to do something she never thought possible, so she doesn't say, "I ran seven half marathons," she says, "We ran seven half marathons."

On Sunday, four years after the transplant, she ran her first full marathon, called Rock 'n' Roll New Orleans. It took her six hours and 36 minutes because a virus kept her from training for 23 days before the race, but she finished.

"It was absolutely the most incredible day of my life," she said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Adrenaline-Fueled Sprint Makes Some Marathons Deadly

Hemera/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) -- Those exhilarating moments when marathoners sprint to the finish line on pure adrenaline can prove fatal to vulnerable hearts, a veteran marathon medical director said Monday.

Taking an 81-milligram baby aspirin and avoiding caffeine on race day -- especially super-caffeinated energy drinks -- are simple ways that marathon runners can reduce the chances their hearts will give out at race's end, like those of two men who collapsed Sunday at the 8th Philadelphia Marathon, said Dr. Lewis G. Maharam, board chairman of the International Medical Directors Association. Last year, the organization issued recommendations for preventing sudden death among runners and walkers.

"Runners are not bullet-proof," said Maharam. No matter how young or outwardly healthy they feel, runners should undergo an annual physical where a doctor can screen for hidden heart ailments and advise them on ways to reduce the odds of dying.

Both Philadelphia victims were initially said to have suffered apparent heart attacks, although they might have succumbed to sudden death from other cardiac causes, such as fatal heart rhythms. Jeffrey Lee, a 21-year-old University of Pennsylvania senior from Cerritos, Calif., collapsed at the finish line of the Philadelphia Marathon and died at Hahnemann University Hospital, The Daily Pennsylvanian reported Monday. Lee, who was studying both nursing and business, had finished the course in one hour and 58 minutes.

The other victim, a 40-year-old man, also died at Hahnemann after collapsing a quarter-mile from the finish line. His name has not been released.

The course for the Philadelphia Marathon, whose website uses the slogan "Best: Time of Your Life," runs past some of the most famous historic landmarks in the City of Brotherly Love, including the Liberty Bell and the home of Betsy Ross, who stitched the first American flag.

More people may seem to be losing their lives while competing in marathons, although the absolute risk of dying has remained stable at one out of every 50,000 entrants, explained Maharam, past medical director of the New York Road Runners Club and the New York City Marathon. We are just hearing about more deaths because more people are participating in an increasing number of marathons and half-marathons. "There's a marathon or half-marathon every week, where 20,000 to 30,000 people are running, but the statistic hasn't changed," he said.

Some runners' hearts are particularly vulnerable to an adrenaline surge that occurs when they first spot the finish line, a location Maharam called "The X Spot," which he said "comes from the excitement of knowing you're going to finish."

Maharam, medical director of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training Program and for Competitor Group's Rock 'N' Roll Marathon Series, said he makes sure that paramedics are placed at that spot in each of the races in which he's involved. "I've had 10 successful resuscitations at my events this year at the X-spot because it goes down right in front of the paramedics."

He explained that excessive caffeine can make the heart muscle susceptible to ill effects of the adrenaline rush. So, too can the impact of running a half-marathon, which can dislodge small amounts of artery-blocking plaque, cutting off blood flow to a microscopic area of the heart muscle and leaving it more vulnerable to an erratic and ultimately fatal heart rhythm triggered by the adrenaline.

When this happens, "the heart stops and they go unconscious," he said.

Endurance athletes should be aware that intense bouts of exercise can lead the muscles to release enzymes that promote blood clotting and reduce the blood supply to the heart muscle. They should be properly hydrated, consume sufficient salt and avoid nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications commonly taken for pain, muscle sprains and other sports injuries.

Some studies suggest that caffeine consumption becomes risky at about 200 milligrams, the amount contained in two "diner-size" cups of coffee. A cup at Starbucks contains 320 milligrams, "which is too much," he said.

Women marathon runners have less plaque in their arteries than male runners, or than sedentary women, researchers from the Minneapolis Heart Institute reported Nov. 14 at the American Heart Association annual meeting. That finding followed a report in 2010 that marathon-running men had more plaque than sedentary men, although those men were older than the women in this year's study, the Minnesota researchers said. Researchers could not account for the gender-based differences.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio