Runner dies in Pikes Peak marathon |

Runner dies in Pikes Peak marathon


COLORADO SPRINGS ” A veteran runner from Oklahoma died after collapsing during the Pikes Peak Marathon over the weekend.

Gary P. Williams, 59, of Norman, Okla., died Sunday despite attempts by fellow competitors to save him a little more than two miles from the 14,115-foot summit. The race goes up and then down the mountain west of Colorado Springs.

Pikes Peak was Williams’ 45th career marathon, said his son, Steve. He said his father had no heart problems, family history of heart trouble or hint of any illness before the race.

“He’s had high blood pressure as long as I can remember,” he said. “Its always been controlled by medicine. He was in really great shape.”

A rescue helicopter arrived at the scene, but a paramedic declared him dead. Larry Lewis, search and rescue incident commander, said Williams likely died of a heart attack.

Williams was going up the mountain and was about four hours into the race when he collapsed. Efforts to revive him using CPR failed.

Williams was carrying a cell phone and promised to call his son at a nearby motel when he reached the summit, the marathon’s halfway point. His son never got the call.

“We were two, two and a half hours past when he was supposed to be up there,” Steve Williams, 31, told The Gazette. “I assumed the phone wasn’t working at the top.”

The death is believed to be the second in the history of the Pikes Peak races, which include a half-marathon called the Ascent. Bob Love, 57, of Earlham, Iowa, died during the 1992 Ascent.

Steve Williams said his father was a self-employed medical practices manager who in the past 10 years had started an oil and gas partnership. The two had run the Boston Marathon twice.

“He loved running with me,” said Williams, a Securities and Exchange Commission accountant in Washington. “He had a passion for it. He loved it.”

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