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Profiling Collapsing Half Marathon Runners—Emerging Risk Factors: Results from Gothenburg Half Marathon

Journal article
Authors Amir Khorram-Manesh
Therese Löf
Mats Börjesson
Finn Nilson
Sofia Thorsson
Fredrik Lindberg
Eric Carlström
Published in Sports
Volume 8
Issue 1
Pages 2
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Surgery
Department of Earth Sciences
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Institute of Health and Care Sciences
Department of Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science
Institute of Clinical Sciences
Pages 2
Language en
Keywords endurance; health; medicine; psychology; collapsing; pre-race test
Subject categories Physiology, Basic Medicine, Sport and Fitness Sciences


Among several serious medical conditions, arrhythmia and heat stroke are two important causes of death during endurance races. Clinically, collapsing might be the first sign of these serious conditions and may mimic the more common and benign exercise-associated collapse. Several risk factors have been reported in the literature. We aimed to conduct a qualitative study to find a perceived risk profile among runners who collapsed and who were transported by ambulances to the nearest hospital during Gothenburg’s half marathon (2010–2017). Collapsing runners seem to lack the ability to make a decision to withdraw from the contest despite being exhausted. They feel the pain but are unable to put meaning to their feeling, to adjust their pacing, and to handle other influences. Consequently, they do not overcome the problem or assess the situation. Theseindividual mental characteristics may indicate a unique profile for collapsing runners. Pre-race health control and educational initiatives aiming at mental preparedness and information before endurance races might be a necessary step to avoid life-threatening complications.

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