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Discussion: Sad news

in: Adventure Racing; General

Aug 16, 2018 8:08 PM # 
Aug 17, 2018 4:01 PM # 
This report aligns with what I heard from the race director on the evening of the fatality. He was quite distraught about this, and expressed concerned for the family and for other competitors and for his events (he was hosting 3 races at Curt Gowdy last weekend).

I raced with my 9 y.o. son in the "family AR" on the day following this event as did the park administrator, Dominic Bravo, who is quoted in this report. My understanding is that the man was racing solo in the 8 hour AR that was hosted on Saturday and found at one of the race checkpoints. I can't help wondering if he could have been helped/saved by a teammate. Nobody knows how long he was there before someone found him.
Aug 21, 2018 1:56 AM # 
I'm sorry for the family and for the RD. Thanks for sharing your experience Conman.

This is the second death for U.S. adventure racing in the past year (a competitor suffered a fatal heart attack at USARA Nationals last September).

As an RD myself, it's my worst fear realized. It definitely makes me wonder whether we should continue to allow solo racers. But I think such outcomes are an inevitability in our sport and that most everyone who toes the line understands the risks.

I'm not sure why this popped up in my newsfeed, but I did see this article that seemed timely. Curious to hear other RDs' thoughts on our liability and potential risk exposure - I don't think I've ever had a conversation about it with anyone, but I think it definitely needs to be talked about more amongst us amateur race organizers!
Aug 21, 2018 2:33 AM # 
StrongMachine, we've been having the same conversation -- about whether allowing solo racers (especially at some of the more remote races) is a risk bigger than we want to bear (not from a liability perspective, but from a safety perspective).
Aug 21, 2018 2:51 PM # 
It sounds like the court case in the article is largely based on the race organization failing to live up to a condition of their city permit, which said they must provide specific types of emergency medical staff and services at the finish line. I imagine there is also an expected standard of finish line services based on other road marathons, and that would affect the court’s decision about what a “reasonable” race organization would do. This may not correlate directly with saving lives since the survival rate for people whose hearts stop outside a hospital is fairly low if you count only the people who live long enough to be discharged from the hospital.

Our AR insurance companies obviously don’t expect that. Our medics don’t usually have much to do but if they are busy, the problem is not usually at the finish line.

In our region, there are no overnight solo ARs but there are races up to 10 hrs with staffed transitions every few hours. No solo could be missing for long without being noticed, and they would likely be seen by other racers. Maybe that’s a good argument for RDs to prohibit solo racers in longer or more remote races. I’ve never considered racing solo overnight for safety reasons but I feel comfortable racing solo all day in races where I expect to see volunteers and other racers from time to time.

As an RD and racer, I worry more about emergencies where medical treatment within hours is likely to help, e.g. head injuries or internal bleeding. Sadly, a heart attack could happen while racing but it could equally happen to the same person on a backcountry canoe trip or while hiking up a mountain trail. Adventure racers are being watched by the race organization so they are more likely to receive timely medical help than a wilderness tripper.

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