R. Sujatha and Petlee Peter

Santhosh’s 21.09 km professional run turned costly

Police have registered a case under Section 174 of CPC

Organisers of the marathon hand over Rs.3 lakh in compensation

CHENNAI: The celebrated Chennai Marathon on Sunday morning turned fatal for a 22-year-old college student who participated in the 21.09 km professional run.

M. Santhosh, II year student of M.Sc. Applied Geology, Anna University, collapsed close to the finish line and efforts to revive him proved futile. The youngster, an NCC air wing cadet and an active sportsman according to his college mates, had started the marathon around 6.30 a.m. outside the Island Grounds along with more than 5,000 participants including professional athletes. The runners in the half marathon had to pass through the light house, Santhome High Road, Adyar Bridge, Elliots beach and back to Gandhi Statue on the Marina Beach to win the Rs.10 lakh prize money race. Even before Santhosh collapsed, another 19-year-old who complained of breathlessness was admitted to the Cardiac Care Unit of the Government General Hospital. Doctors said his condition was stable.

Two hours after he started running, Santhosh passed the Lighthouse but collapsed a few metres before the finishing point. A medical team from Sri Ramachandra Medical College that was following the runners administered first aid but when he did not respond, he was rushed to the GH where doctors declared him ‘brought dead.’ Hospital resident medical officer A. Valarmathi said that sometimes runners experience chest spasms. “Experienced runners will immediately stop. It is not clear if the boy realised that he was suffering from chest pain,” she said.

The police have registered a case under Section 174 of Criminal Procedure Code based on a complaint registered by his co-runner and friend, Rajkumar.

Later in the evening, when Santhosh’s parents, Murugesan and Kannagi arrived at the hospital to take their only son’s body they broke down. Santhosh had been living with a few classmates in a private lodge in Triplicane. Murugesan works as a post master in the Agaram village of Krishnagiri district.

Member of Parliament Kanimozhi said that the organisers of the marathon had announced Rs.3 lakh as compensation to the bereaved family. It was handed over to Santhosh’s parents at the hospital. Though 15 ambulances were stationed along the marathon route spectators said that water was in short supply towards the end. Several spectators were seen distributing water bottles to the runners.

Marathon runners are required to undergo a medical examination a few days before the event, says sports medicine specialist Kannan Pugazhendi. Though there have been instances when an athlete had died despite medical examination, in the Indian context it is important to conduct medical exams, he pointed out.