Runner's Plaque

Navigational Art and Directions By Colleen Yorke, © 2015.
Over the years some rather curious endurance challenges have been entered in the marathon records book: Marathoners knitting 12 feet long scarves, dribbling two basketballs, balancing an egg on a spoon, jumping rope, juggling, carrying 80 pounds of weight ...and running 26.2 miles. A 92 year-old woman and a 102 year-old man are considered the oldest marathon finishers. On the other end of the spectrum, a 5 year-old girl from MD and a 3 year old boy from India (Marathon Boy) still retain the title as the world's youngest marathoners. The Murrays are in their 60s, raw vegans, and they ran a marathon every day for the past year, setting a new world record of running close to 10,000 miles around Australia. While it can be fun to bust a PR (personal record), it is a delicate balance between a runner high and a runner's plaque.  

According to a recent study from Kansas City on excessive endurance exercise, men who were running marathon races for 25 years had 62 percent more plaque buildup in their coronary arteries than men who were sedentary (but were similar to the runners in other respects, including age.) John, a physician and runner, started running in 1967 "when the police would ask you what you were running from". He typically ran 30 to 40 miles a week, and participated in more than 25 races, including two half Ironman Triathlons. At age 61 he was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, a heart rhythm problem. After learning more about runners with heart problems, John decided to get a heart scan for his coronary artery calcium score, an indicator of heart artery plaque. A calcium score of 100 or less is considered mild calcification, and 400 is considered extensive. His score was 1,606.

As with everything else in life, moderation may be the answer in running.


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