A horrific tragedy unfolded during a very popular marathon in South Africa. It was The Comrades Marathon, an ultramarathon of approximately 89 kilometers that’s run annually in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa between the cities of Durban and Pietermaritzburg. It is the world’s largest and oldest ultramarathon race. Two people dropped dead during the marathon and 74 runners had to be rushed to the hospital.
News 24 reported that The Comrades Marathon has been rocked by another tragedy of a participant who died while participating in Sunday’s down-run.
47-year-old Phakamile Ntshiza, who ran for the Pretoria-based Adventist Athletic Club, died suddenly while on the course to Durban.
He collapsed shortly before reaching Drummond – the half-way point of the race – and was declared dead when the Netcare medical team arrived on the scene.
This follows news earlier in the day that Mzamo Mthembu of the Hollywoodbets Athletics Club died in a Westville hospital on Sunday after collapsing just before Pinetown.
Comrades race director Rowyn James confirmed both deaths to Sport24 on Monday.
“When our Netcare team had arrived at the scene, the athlete was declared dead,” James said of Ntshiza’s death.
“The chairperson of the Comrades Marathon Association has been in contact with both families.
“Comrades is a family. We have had over 400 000 people run the race since its inception over 100 years ago, and we are all family.
“Two deaths are two too many, and our thoughts and condolences are with the families of the runners who lost their lives.”
James added that a total of 74 runners had been transported to hospital – 41 to St Augustine’s and 33 to Netcare Umhlanga – after Comrades shut its medical facilities at 20:00 on Sunday night.
Of those, two remain in ICU presently. One is still on a ventilator.
We’re told there is a third runner who is clinging to life, though that’s all we know. But that runner’s prognosis is not good. We hope for a miracle for that person.
There’s been a rise in deaths over the past 6-7 months, according to one funeral director:
A Tasmanian funeral director is concerned about the 50% rise in funerals he is undertaking in the last 7 mnths.
‘The previous 10 and a quarter years were very very consistent. But this has been a rapid rise in the last 6 to 7 mnths’
Stats: 16.6% rise in excess deaths in Oz. pic.twitter.com/MtlvYpfiEH
— Kat A 🌸 (@SaiKate108) August 29, 2022
None of this is normal. Not one bit of it.
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