At Raleigh's first Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, 12,500-runners all at the peak of fitness and pushing their bodies to the limits. Now, two of those runners are dead. They never made it across the finish line.
The two were relatively young guys: one was 35 and the other 31. The men are both from the Triangle. Not only are their families in shock, but also people who were nearby when the runners collapsed.
Raleigh's first rock and roll marathon turned tragic after two men died testing their endurance and fighting to reach the finish line. One man collapsed right near the end on Fayetteville Street. Video shows paramedics trying to help him. An eyewitness said emergency responders performed CPR frantically -- to the point where workers were rotated. The other man collapsed in between the 10- and 11-mile markers. That's right outside of Jay Smith's apartment building.
"It was just kind of a chaotic scene," said Smith, who was walking out of his building when EMS was working to save the runner's life. He tried to get closer but the streets were packed. Thousands of spectators clogged city sidewalks as the race was underway
"It was just crowded and people were milling around trying to figure out what was going on," Smith said.
The marathon's medical examiner said in a statement:
"Wake County EMS and medical personnel were immediately on the scene and attempted to revive each runner, but their efforts were unsuccessful. We are greatly saddened by these tragic losses and our prayers go out to the each of the runner's family and friends."
A race spokesperson said a representative spent the majority of the afternoon at the hospital with the families of the two runners to help them cope with these loses.
The Medical Examiner's office is working to determine the men's cause of death. The runners' names are not being released until the work is complete.