Can you die in a marathon

The participants in the Frankfurt Ironman Triathlon had to endure heat of up to 40 degrees. A large number of athletes tried to cheat the high temperatures by drinking as much water as possible. 3200 people took part in this triathlon, 350 of them had to be treated by the Red Cross.

Quite a few even went to the hospital, eight of them in the intensive care unit and one of them did not survive. He drank too much water.

This news of the death hit me in rows and I was asked to write something again on this subject several times. In the beginning I resisted because I am simply tired of warning people over and over again about consuming too much water.

In addition, I was and will be dismissed as a weirdo by the yesterday's people when I warn against excessive drinking. Of course we have to consume water during long periods of stress. But this must contain minerals. It is very likely that tap water does not contain the necessary minerals.

For these cases we created a mineral supply for on the go years ago with the “gripping convulsive blocker”. Club member Professor Alexander Jäger wrote: "Tragic, that wouldn't have happened to you and your anti-seizure medication.

In this context, he warned for the coming vacation period, especially for the stay in Greece: “People on vacation should pay attention to this when training: the bottled water in Greece is almost like distilled water. So: pack the cramp blocker, lick the table salt, eat olives from brine and also enjoy beer pretzels ”.

Die Welt wrote on 8 July 2015 on this topic: "The cause of death was 99 percent brain edema," said Leo Latasch, head of the medical rescue service at the Frankfurt health department.

The patient's progress was rapid, he had consumed too little salts and, with a high degree of probability, too much water: "We then speak of water poisoning. Tap water does not contain any noteworthy minerals."

In fact, according to a recent study by American researchers, the old rule that athletes should drink as much as possible is out of date. This is the conclusion reached by a group of experts in an article in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine. According to this, heavy drinking to prevent dehydration is "unnecessary, but brings with it a greater risk".

Hyponatremia, the lack of sodium, occurs mainly as a result of continued excessive water intake. This dilutes the body fluid. The consequences are headache, dizziness or vomiting. The phenomenon is particularly well known in endurance sports such as marathons or triathlon races "

Especially the South African researcher Noakes has made an outstanding contribution to the water balance of endurance athletes. He was discovered by collapsed runners in the ultra run "Comrades" in South Africa. Most of these participants suffered from overhydration.

You are sure to ask how much you should drink in a marathon. The rule of thumb is 500 milliliters per hour. Heavier runners should consume up to 750 milliliters and that applies to everyone at high temperatures.

Even if you drink a little less, it is not a great danger. Because as Noakes found out, a weight loss of up to six percent is tolerable in a competition. As he described, there is no loss of performance due to this temporary lack of water.

The opposite is the case. In the past, people were always warned against drinking too much because the blood then becomes thicker (viscosity) and the cardiovascular system is overloaded.

According to Noakes, the weight loss compensates for this burden and there is even an improvement in performance.

But I warn against experimenting with the water balance in the organism. You have to have a lot of experience to be on the safe side. Finally I should tell you that I definitely didn't drink 10 liters of water in my 60 marathons.

Only when my mouth was dry would I take a sip of water or an electrolyte drink. I only drank too much once at Swiss Alpin and that with bad consequences. At the top of the Sertig Pass, I got full body cramps.

Below you can read again what has been written about our topic today in previous years. In one of these texts you will find the whole story of those terrible cramps in Swiss Alpin. I really don't know what year I wrote about it.

With this in mind, I wish you to always stay cramp-free.

Keywords for the article "Water poisoning: 30-year-old triathlete dies from drinking too much water":
Ironman, heat run, mineral supply, water consumption, anti-seizure drugs, dehydration, tap water, noakes, brain edema, loss of performance, weight loss, electrolyte drink, cramps, salt deficiency, water poisoning