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 Fiancee Of Track Star Kenenisa Bekele Dies
Submitted by Rickshaw :: Thu Jan 06, 2005 10:46 am
In another sad example of a promising athlete gone before her time, 1500 meter World Youth Champion Alem Techale of Ethiopia died on Tuesday of a heart attack during a training run. Techale, 18, was engaged to 5000 and 10000 meter world record holder and 2004 Athlete of the Year Kenenisa Bekele. The couple had planned to wed in May. Techale and Bekele were on a morning training run near Addis Abeba when Techale suddenly collapsed. Bekele carried her back to his car, but she died en route to the hospital.

This is a tragic loss for the running community, and also a troubling one. While most people would expect hardcore runners to be exemplars of fitness and good health, a surprising number have died of natural causes at relatively young ages. Florence Griffith Joyner died at age 38, apparently from a seizure. Running pioneer Jim Fix died at 52 of a heart attack while running. Brian Maxwell, founder of Power Bar and a former world-class marathon, died at 51, also of a heart attack. In recent years there have also been several runners who died of heart attacks during races. Might these people have pushed themselves too hard, or are they simply examples of premature deaths you would expect to see in any population sample?



OldManRunner
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
Rochester, NY
Joined: 28 Nov 2004
Posts: 262

Re: Fiancee Of Track Star Kenenisa Bekele Dies Posted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 6:27 am 

Wow, that's pretty wierd, and of course very sad. I know in Jim Fixx's case he had a family history of heart attacks, and I believe actually first began running when he first reached the age at which his own father had died of a heart attack. But an 18 year old girl?! Perhaps some congenital heart defect?

Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Fiancee Of Track Star Kenenisa Bekele Dies Posted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 11:59 am 

Could be... I expect we'll hear more information soon. It's strange, that's just so far from the type of thing you'd ever expect to happen to a young athlete, it's hard to believe.

runnerswife


Joined: 08 Dec 2004
Posts: 33

Re: Fiancee Of Track Star Kenenisa Bekele Dies Posted: Sat Jan 08, 2005 12:09 am 

I hate to speculate on this, but it could be an overdose of EPO. EPO (erythpoetin or something like that) increases the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood by spurring red blood cell production, and is ideally taken right below the fatal limit (at some point your blood has so many cells in it it's "like jello"). I did a little web searching and found that "As the body's red blood cell count rises and the blood thickens, blood clots, heart attack, or stroke could result." http://www.openseason.com/annex/library/cic/X0081_ster_sub.txt.html
A danish cyclist once got kidney failure from an overdose. It's popular with cyclists and runners because it's difficult to detect and the effects last long after you finish your doses.
Here's a brief list of who's tested positive for EPO:
Olympic bronze medallist (1,500-metre run) Bernard Lagat of Kenya; Russian runner (5,000-metre) Olga Yegorova; US cyclist Adham Sbeih; Russian cross-country skier Natalia Baranova-Masolkin; Chinese track athletes Zheng Yongji and Li Huiquan; Moroccan runner and former 10K world record holder Asmae Leghzaoui; French cyclist and Olympic bronze medallist Philippe Gaumont
http://www.cbc.ca/sports/indepth/drugs/glossary/dictionary.html

It will be interesting to see what press comes out of this case, hopefully clearing her of any suspicion.


OldManRunner
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
Rochester, NY
Joined: 28 Nov 2004
Posts: 262

Re: Fiancee Of Track Star Kenenisa Bekele Dies Posted: Sat Jan 08, 2005 10:57 am 

I do have to admit that one of my first reactions to this article was wondering whether it could have been related to some form of performance enhancing drug use. Unfortunately, with things the way they are in the world these days, I think that's the stigma any elite athlete is going to have to deal with.

Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Fiancee Of Track Star Kenenisa Bekele Dies Posted: Sat Jan 08, 2005 12:15 pm 

Well the cause of death has yet to be announced. Even if it did turn out to be something like EPO, I wonder if they would say so. It seems like it could cause a lot of additional grief for friends and family if that turned out to be the case. Of course, it might also warn other athletes away from steroids and such.

Bricks
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
Chicago
Joined: 09 Dec 2004
Posts: 222

Re: Fiancee Of Track Star Kenenisa Bekele Dies Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 1:41 pm 

Hopefully this doesn't happen in threes...

http://www.dailypress.com/sports/dp-48471sy0jan13,0,6800444.story?coll=dp-sports-local


Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Fiancee Of Track Star Kenenisa Bekele Dies Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 2:10 pm 

Wow, another 18 year old woman gone... what's with these heart attacks in healthy teenagers? It just doesn't make sense.

Last I heard, the autopsy of Alem Techale didn't find any conclusive cause of her heart attack. Mabe the mystery will never be solved.


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