A 30-year-old man taking part in the Brooklyn Half Marathon has collapsed and died after crossing the finish line as a scorching heatwave hit the East Coast of the US.
An NYPD spokesperson told The Independent that the runner, whose identity has not been revealed, collapsed at the finish line along the Coney Island Boardwalk just before 9am.
He was rushed to nearby Coney Island Hospital where he was pronounced dead from a “possible cardiac episode”.
At least 16 other race participants were also taken to hospital with various injuries over the course of the run, three of them with serious injuries, according to the FDNY.
The tragedy struck as runners faced gruelling temperatures on Saturday morning, as the annual Brooklyn Half Marathon was held in person for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
More than 30m people are under a heat advisory this weekend as temperatures are expected to reach the top 90s across parts of the Northeast.
In New York City, temperatures were forecast to reach 91 degrees Fahrenheit at the day’s peak, with a feel of 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
The unusual mid-May heatwave comes close to smashing the record of 93 degrees Fahrenheit recorded back in 1996.
Ahead of the race, organizer New York Road Runners had issued guidelines for participants on how to stay safe in the heat.
“We’re continuing to monitor the weather conditions for Saturday, but expect high temperatures,” the nonprofit tweeted on Thursday.
Participants were urged to know the signs of heat problems, drink enough fluids and respect their limits.
“Heat and humidity increase the physical challenge of running, and health problems can occur when you push beyond what your body can handle.
“Do not aim for a personal best on a warm, sticky day, particularly if you are not used to such conditions,” read the guidelines.
Saturday’s death comes eight years after tragedy struck at the 2014 race, when a 31-year-old man collapsed at the finish line and died sometime after.
Organized by nonprofit New York Road Runners, the course weaves around the New York City borough of Brooklyn, starting at the Brooklyn Museum before traveling through the park and ending on the beach boardwalk at Coney Island.
Around 22,000 people were expected to turn out for the 13.1 mile run including famous faces such as GMA host TJ Holmes.