BROOKLYN, New York – A 30-year-old man finished the Brooklyn Half Marathon then collapsed and died on Saturday morning said a spokesperson for the organizer, New York Road Runners (NYRR).
"The male runner … collapsed after finishing the race. He was immediately attended to by on-site medical staff and then transported to Coney Island Hospital," she said in the statement.
He was pronounced dead at the hospital. Authorities told FOX 5 New York the runner may have suffered cardiac arrest.
The New York Fire Department (FDNY) said 16 others were taken to the hospital. Three were admitted in serious condition.
Near-record heat and high humidity roasted the borough during the 13.1-mile run. The NWS issued a heat advisory for the area as well as much of Southeastern New York, Northeastern New Jersey and Southern Connecticut.
"I ran it today. It was brutal, so I slowed down and forgot about my goals," Tweeted Brooklyn Half runner Pierre Gangloff. " Some people kill themselves on the road as well because they're doing "good time" or don’t want to take a coffee break. Sad for the runner who passed away today."
He said NYRR emailed the athletes the day before with tips on beating the expected heat.
"I can tell you that I went through all the water hoses/showers from mid-race to the end and I threw a glass of water on my head at every water station," Gangloff said. "My shoes were drenched. It was brutal."
Bodies can’t cool off as efficiently in high humidity.
"When the humidity is high, sweat won’t evaporate as quickly," advises the CDC on their website. "This keeps your body from releasing heat as fast as it may need to."
Several nearby areas broke record highs.
- Atlantic City, New Jersey tied the record with 93
- Islip, New York tied the record with 90
- Philadelphia tied their record that held since 1934 with 95
"Throughout the race, weather temperatures ranged from the low 60s to high 70s," said the NYRR statement. "In coordination and consultation with city agency partners and weather experts, NYRR was closely monitoring weather conditions leading up to and during the race."
Medical first responders and water tables lined the entire course that ran from Prospect Park to the finish line on the Coney Island Boardwalk. Many half marathoners posed with their medals cooling off in the chilly Atlantic with water temperatures in the upper 50s.
More than 22,000 runners hit the streets for the Brooklyn Half after a three-year pandemic absence. This was also the race’s 40th anniversary.
Runners took their marks at 7 a.m. on Saturday in the fog with a temperature of 62 with 96% relative humidity. First place runners finished a little over an hour later in similar conditions but slower runners finished in 77-degree heat with 97% relative humidity. The afternoon took off from that point and hit 87 for the high.
The NWS New York office posted warnings about the heat starting days before the run. "After a cool Spring, there is an increased risk of heat-related illness for vulnerable populations this weekend with this first heat event of the season," said the advisory.
A cold front passing through overnight will knock Monday’s temperature down to the low 70s and Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s down to the upper 60s.