Narottam Thakkar, 51, trained for three months for the marathon. The trekker has run the half marathon three times before. But on Sunday, the Vashi resident suffered a heart attack and collapsed suddenly in the middle of the half marathon.
He was rushed in a cardiac ambulance to Jaslok Hospital.
“We revived him with an electric shock. His angiography has revealed blockages,” said Dr AB Mehta, senior cardiologist, Jaslok Hospital, adding that he will have to undergo a bypass or angioplasty in a few days.
Doctors said Thakkar was lucky as he received life support in the ambulance.
“He is in ICU and is improving. He was brought in time so we could save him,” said Dr Mehta.
Thakkar’s family is shocked.
“He regularly treks and keeps himself fit,” said Arpan Thakkar, his nephew.
“He does not have any ailments such as diabetes, hypertension and never complained of any chest pain.”
Another half marathon participant, Oommen John, 52, complained of acute chest pain and was admitted to Bombay Hospital, Marine Lines, with a suspected heart attack.
“This is his third marathon. He regularly works out and trains for it every year,” said his wife Leena.
Why is it that these apparently fit people suffer heart attacks at the marathon?
“People such as Thakkar, who suffer from minimal coronary diseases do not exhibit any major symptoms, so they probably do not go for heart check-ups. But during such a strenuous exercise, the ailing heart cannot meet the demand for oxygenated blood and suffer acute attacks,” said Dr Mehta.
Last year, Shirish Dhande, 53, suffered a heart attack after completing the half marathon.
In 2005, the second marathon, a 77-year-old woman died of a heart attack, said officials of the Asian Heart Institute, Mumbai marathons health partners.