Thursday, October 11, 2007

Personal Asides: The “Hurricane Katrina of Marathons”



Read Dennis Byrne today at the Chicago Daily Observer website ( and you’ll discover that a Chicago media star-“political analyst”…ever-present in the “Sun-Times,” on Channel 5 as political columnist and often on Channel 11 as political analyst for “Chicago Tonight”…referred to the Chicago Marathon this way:

“Some say it was the Hurricane Katrina of marathons.”

In last week’s marathon, one runner died…and an autopsy showed not from the heat but from a congenital heart condition.

In contrast Katrina took the lives of 1,836, was responsible for $81.2 billion in damage, struck Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, caused 53 different levee breaches in Greater New Orleans, caused power outages for more than 900,000 people, prompted the Bush administration to seek $105 billion for reconstruction, damaged or destroyed 30 oil platforms and caused closure of nine oil refineries, totally shut down oil production in the Gulf of Mexico for six-months at a loss of approximately 24% of the annual production, destroyed 1.3 million acres of forest lands, left hundreds of thousands unemployed with a total economic impact of over $150 billion, redistributed population from New Orleans across the southern U. S.—Houston taking 35,000; Mobile, Alabama gaining over 24,000; Baton Rouge, La. Over 15,000; Hammond, Louisiana over 10,000 (nearly doubling its size) with Chicago receiving over 6,000 the most of any non-southern city.

Comparing the Marathon to Katrina was a small case of news hype, wouldn’t you say?

Dear God--what comparisons and adjectives would she have to resort to if someone had truly died last weekend from the heat?

Also a key tenet of berserk liberalism here: When you decide to run in almost 90 degree heat…and decide to do so of your own free will…who’s responsible? Why those who run the Marathon, of course. Never the individual. No such thing as individual responsibility in this world, is there?


  1. I agree to compare the Marathon to Katrina is overreaching to say the least. However it is wrong to imply that individuals running the Marathon are doing so purely on their own. When you sign up for the Marathon (I have run 10 in Chicago and several in other cities) you create a contract with the Marathon organizers. You pay about $110 and they are to supply water and other materials to run. The heat forecast was known 2 weeks in advance. Anyone who runs knows that in races, when it is hot, the runners use a lot of extra water. The Marathon organizers should have known this and prepared for it. They did not. The runner who died did have a "heart condition" but mitral valve prolapse is generally a benign condition that will not stop people from running. He was cleared by his doctor to run. The lack of water combined with the condition may have caused his death.

  2. Some people collect beanie babies
    Some people raise horses
    Some people collect cars
    Some people fly balloons
    Some people ride motorcycles
    Some people rock climb
    Some people skydive
    Some people run marathons

    It is called a hobby! And with some extreme hobbies there are risks, just ask Steve Fossett if we ever find him. Look at the skydivers who perished in the plane crash. I know of no doctor who ever perscribed marathon running or rock climbing or skydiving. With such hobbies there are risks! There are the risks that you may not be in the best of condition or have a congenital defect that is aggravated by the hobby. That is your risk. Runners run in the heat , cold, etc. Its not like Chicago was BOILING that day! In fact it was a beautiful day in Chicago!

    Engaging in hobbies is part of the "pursuit of happiness". All I can say is, Dngage in it at your own risk...

  3. Tom's rant about Ron Paul's appearance in Chicago a couple weeks ago included an assertion that (aside from being a Nazi) "Ron Paul is no Robert Taft". Ron appeared yesterday before a rousing crowd of 300 attendees at the 35 member Washington chapter of the Robert Taft Club.

    "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win"