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July 19th, 2010
05:43 PM ET

Heat takes toll on NYC triathletes

A 31-year-old man from London, England is in the hospital after collapsing during the Nautica New York City Triathlon.  The athlete, whose name is not being released, collapsed just before the finish line, according to John Koroff, the triathlon's organizer.  He spent the night in the hospital where he was monitored.  He is expected to be released Monday afternoon.

In all,  12 athletes were taken to the hospital during Sunday's race.  Koroff says most of them had heat related illnesses.  (One athlete fell off her bike and hurt her wrist.)  The average temperature during the triathlon was 93 degrees.

3,400 people competed in the event, which consisted of a 10 kilometer run, 40 kilometer bike ride and 1.5 kilometer swim.  Considering the heat, says Koroff, 12 people getting ill is not too bad.  He credits good planning.  They had more medical support, more water and more ice.  "The good news is that it worked," he says.

So what happened with the 11 athletes who got sick? Koroff thinks they over did it.  "People get too enthusiastic," says Koroff, "and they don't know their limits."

As any seasoned tri-athlete and they will tell you it's all about pacing.  If you are planning on participating in a triathlon, here are some things you should keep in mind.  First, train properly.  If you are competing in a race, you should make sure you train in conditions similar to conditions you will be racing in.  "If you are running in the Southern California desert, you shouldn't train in the woods of New Hampshire," says Koroff.

Also, it is important to keep your core temp down.  "Stay cool, drink water, pour water over head, slow down," says Koroff.

But the most important thing you can do is train.  Know your limitations.  "You are only kidding yourself if you don't train," says Koroff.


soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    Jennifer,

    It's Korff. Can't help being an editor. I am sure Korff Enterprises would appreciate the correction.

    July 19, 2010 at 20:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. vinni schek

    Nautica Tri was amamzing and well organized. Participated in numerous Sprints and Nautica was my first Olympic Distance. Never expected to have as much fun. The life guards helping us get out of the water...a special thank you.
    The Nautica Volunteers..Best ever! With temp hoovering in the 90's their words of encouragement and support went a long way. The additional water to include water sprays was appreciated and a pleasant surprise. Thank you!!
    Dr Gupta and his crew were on my bus at 4am. No one uttered a word. I of coarse woud have put some makeup on... Just kidding. Thank you

    July 19, 2010 at 20:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. nono

    Outstanding race organization by all regards. Awesome staff, volunteers, public and even sportsmanship. That being said, it would be too easy to blame accidental mishaps on the lack of preparation of some of the participants. Certain physical endeavors are strenuous and risky and the NYC triathlon is one of them, whether you train for it or not. Period. Perhaps Dr Gupta could shed some light on the causes of heat strokes and how it may affect some people more than others. He would be well advised because no one really knows, or do they?

    July 20, 2010 at 01:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. brooklynrunz

    I crossed the finish line with an awful muscle cramp...and got continuous treatment. Massages from three different stations to be exact! The medical staff were very attentive and eager to help. Kudos to them and their concern for my well being!

    July 21, 2010 at 00:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. rmnrhd

    O6p2Lu xqsbibvbgjss

    December 29, 2011 at 04:40 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.