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November 29, 2012

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Running safety at issue as student dies

THE sudden death of a Shanghai college student at the end of a 1,000-meter run raised questions about long-distance races, given reports of worsening health among Chinese youth.

The Donghua University student, in his early 20s, died in the hospital after collapsing at the finish line of a 1,000-meter running test at the school's Songjiang campus on Tuesday.

The student died the same day as a second runner died after participating in last Sunday's Guangzhou Marathon. Also, it comes right before this Sunday's annual Shanghai International Marathon.

Due to the student's death, Donghua University has postponed plans to hold a 3,000-meter on-campus race next week.

However, Li Junxiu, deputy director of the Shanghai Education Commission, said long-distance running is a basic health test and they won't cancel the running because of an individual case. Instead, more students should be encouraged to exercise.

Doctors said most sudden deaths during races are caused by heart problems, though no cause of death has been released for the Shanghai student.

The student, surnamed Miu, is a senior in the university's College of Foreign Language. Miu went to the running test after he finished a translation class. He collapsed at around 10am and could not be revived despite emergency treatment.

Recent studies say Chinese students are becoming weaker in strength and stamina compared with those 20 years ago. Heavy study burdens, lack of sleep and exercise, and an unhealthy diet have been blamed.

Li Guoqiang, professor of the Shanghai Sports Institute, reminded the athletes, especially the amateurs, to know better of their own bodies and their limits.

"The problem usually occurs when the runner did not run according to the regulations of the sport or they did not run scientifically. Some of the runners don't run often and don't warm up enough before the race," Li told Jiefang Daily.

The second runner who died on Tuesday, following last Sunday's Guangzhou Marathon, was a 25-year-old man. The first, a 19-year-old, died of cardiogenic shock hours after the marathon.

Organizers of the annual Shanghai International Marathon on Sunday said participants will be observed every 50 meters in the last phase of the course.


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