Adam Nickel, a Wisconsin native, died on Sunday after finishing the Little Rock Marathon, according to the Associated Press. Nickel, just 27 years old, died at the hospital later that day.
This type of story, much like Ryan Shay's tragic death during the Olympic trials in NYC, makes me think about a long of things related to running and mortality.
First, most of us run to become or stay healthy and stave off mortality as long as possible. By getting out and hitting the road when it would be much easier to stay home and watch TV and eat potato chips, we are at the very least improving our quality of life. Our hearts don't work as hard, we can do more and we are generally happier.
Second, it's important to know your limits when you race. I don't know if Adam was outside of his limits, but it still serves an important warning. We need to work up to our distances, know when our injuries are too much, and know when enough is enough and it's OK to have a DNF on your "record".
Third, we need to do what we love. I know Ryan Shay loved to run and he died doing what he loved to do. I don't know if running was Adam's passion, but he had to of at least enjoyed it a little to run 26.2 miles.
Adam's story gave me serious pause. It added credibility to my family's fear for my health as I ran the marathon last weekend. At the same time, it's given me more resolve to train and train hard to make sure that my body is as ready for a race as it can be.
My thoughts go out to Adam's family as they try to deal with a loss that no one expected. Rest in Peace, Marathon Finisher Adam Nickel.