Powered by TypePad

« SuperFreak, Super Freaky | Main | All They Are Saying Is Give Force A Chance »

October 19, 2009



Prayers for the families. Must be devastating. Marathon levels of fitness can give a false sense of immortality.


May all three gentlemen rest in peace.


Apropos of nothing: My niece (the bride's sister) ran her first marathon yesterday and finished in 3:37 - with no real training.


Poisoned water would probably not cause a sudden collapse without other symptoms unless it was laced with cyanide or something else very fast acting...and cyanide poisoning usually shows clear signs.

Charlie (Colorado)

I'm assuming there were no unexplained entrance and exit wounds?

Dave (in MA)


It was the Pheidippides phenomenon.

Thomas Collins

Congrats to your niece, Jane!


Very Good time for your niece indeed, Jane. If she decides to get serious have her give me a shout.
We are currently in the middle of swine flu with the not so little one.

Rob Crawford

I'm assuming there were no unexplained entrance and exit wounds?

It's Detroit; they're probably still soliciting bids on how the investigation should come out.


It's Bush's fault.

Old Lurker

Proves my theory that self inflicted exercise is the source of much human suffering.


OL. now there's a salient point.

Gregory Koster

Why were they running so hard? The Once was going to get the prize anyway. The Nobel committee was going to hand it to him at the finish line, right after he finished suiting up...

OL, add to that Bernard DeVoto's prescription for such diseases: take two aspirin with a martini, and lie down till the urge ceases.

Charlie (Colorado)

Actually, Tom, a quibble: an autopsy or necropsy ought not be done with an idea in mind. That increases the odds of finding things that confirm your theory, but doesn't necessarily improve the odds of finding the facts.

Old Lurker

I'm with Bernie, GK.

Clarice, go swim your laps...you make us feel guilty. Well maybe not!


You know, two of my favorite Doctors, Josef Megele and Sanjay Gupta.....


A Marine recently told me a good excuse for not running.

His point...Running builds cowardice..


We are currently in the middle of swine flu with the not so little one.

I saw her tweet. Give her my love Laura - it sounds dismal!


Swimming doesn't count in the anti-exercise gig--neither does yoga or pilates..It's carp where you ruin your shins, hips , knees and ankles that all adults should eschew.

Carl Pham

We are reading about this race, rather than all the other races run all over America all the time, because something odd happened. But statistically, odd events are bound to happen somewhere, sometime.

Now that's an interesting assertion. Let's put some numbers on this to flesh it out a bit. Let us take the statistical assertion in the story at face value, 0.8 deaths per 100,000 participants (per marathon, one assumes). The race's website says there were 8000 finishers, which in my experience means anywhere from 16,000 to 24,000 participants, the ratio of optimists to realists being what it is.

For 16,000 participants, one comes up with an average death rate of 0.128 deaths per marathon. Given that, how unlikely is 3 deaths in one marathon? The correct distribution would seem to be the Poisson distribution. Plugging in the numbers, we find that the probability of 3 deaths in one marathon is 0.03% or 1 in 3250, roughly. Certainly a small number.

But wait! Let us stipulate we would have heard about it if 3 runners died in any marathon or half-marathon, any time this year. Suppose there are 100 such races in a year, throughout the nation. Then the probability that 3 runners did not die in any of those races is 0.03% raised to the 100th power (!), and the probability, therefore, that 3 runners die in any one marathon or half-marathon in the United States in a given year is about 3%. That's not very probable, but not super unlikely, either.

Melinda Romanoff


Interesting riff on statistics, distribution definitions aside, might the underfunded response time of the Detroit Fire Department play a role in the unfortunate deaths of athletes (sorry, you ain't gettin' off the couch to "jump in").

There's some under-reporting going on here. Ordinarily I'd put in "if you want my opinion", but I just laid it out.

May they rest in peace.

Charlie (Colorado)

Thanks, Carl. I had the same thought (yes, I think Poisson is correct, independent markovian discrete events) but hadn't gone as far as doing the arithmetic.

Barry Dauphin

His point...Running builds cowardice..

No matter whether one is running toward or away from?

Gregory Koster

Let me hijack this thread from the Poissoners...via Instapundit here's an article about CNBC and Reuters being hoaxed: They published with a straight face that the US Chamber of Commerce had flip-flopped on globaloney warming and wouldn't holler about cap-and-tax. Turns out the press release was a hoax. Reynolds bashes CNBC/Reuters for having the layers of fact-checkers that don't. But the real point is in the POLITICO article reporting the event: it seems the merry hoaxsters came forward to claim credit. Mike Calderone of POLITICO interviwed the prankster, one "Andy Bichlbaum." But Calderone mentions that "Bichlbaum" is a pseudonym (not alas, an alias which would imply the cops were on the scene.) "Bichlbaum" goes on to say that his gang hopes to give the Chamber's PR people the worst Monday they've ever had.

Recall that with the O'Keefe ACORN vids, there was a lot of press sniffing about O'Keefe's deficient sense of ethics, that no real journalist would do such a thing unless it was necessary to get the Republicans... Compare this to the ethical Calderone, who sits on the ethical jourmalism fence, until he decides to become one himself: passing on propaganda from dubious characters as news and comment, sure in the knowledge that his journalistic halo ain't gonna slip around his neck like a noose.

Bah. Death to the press! Down with their circulations!! Let their advertisers wake up from their nightmares, and do something constructive with their dough. The Once has one constructive idea.

Soylent Red

His point...Running builds cowardice..

I tried to explain to my TAC officers that running was a waste of time for me because, as a member of military intelligence branch, I would never need to run if I spent more time learning to do my job correctly instead of wasting time running.

Somehow I could never get them to agree with me.

Jim Ryan

...would seem to be the Poisson distribution.

Ah. So it was the water the runners were given. I never believed it was heart attacks. I hope there's a murder investigation.

Just got back from a run. Nothing like it, folks. After the first six months of pure hell, hatred and loathing (twenty years ago, for me), the rest of your life you have a hobby which makes you feel like you've had a nice scotch and all's right with the world when you're done.

Charlie (Colorado)

...would seem to be the Poisson distribution.

Ah. So it was the water the runners were given.

There's something fishy about that reasoning.

Charlie (Colorado)

as a member of military intelligence branch

Heh. I used to work with these old Master Chief ops who were 75 lbs overweight and had forearms like Popeye from pounding the KSR keyboards for 30 years.

Wrong service, dude.

Charlie (Colorado)

34-23 Broncos??!


Go Broncos! 6-0...


Joe Biden took the Newsweek article that said he was not a joke and promptly declared the US is in a Depression...



Looks like the Saturday Open Thread beat the Sunday Open Thread 243 to 234 comments.

Don't think we have a lot of 7th Day Adventist's here, so I'm suspecting Sunday Churchgoing, coupled with posters turning in early due to having to go to work on Monday were the main factors contributing to Sunday falling short. Still, NFL Sunday only losing by 9 to College Football Saturday is a pretty good score. (Full disclosure: TM remains banned in China, so didn't read any of the 477 Open Thread comments, nor the other thousand comments from weekend links, but I do feel confident in stating that The Obama Administration wants a runnoff Open Thread competition held next weekend before acknowledging last Saturday's Thread as unambiguously victorious over last Sunday's Thread.)

Anyhow, asked for comments about the contest, the Russian's said "Nyet", The Iranian's said "Maybe", and Gordon Brown said "We only have 50 days left to get it right or the world will end in catatstrophe."

And Anita Dunn demanded to know who did the counting, ACORN or FOX NEWS?

Tiger Beer- a good Singapore brew:)

Dave (in MA)

The AP report claims that all three were "healthy".

I'm sticking with my Oct. 19 04:54 PM explanation.


Clear signs of contagion; had any of the three remembered their towel?

Chicken Underwear

I have run 19 marathons. It is not a "false sence"


It is something in the air here. We have had a wet fall so far and people are having breathing issues outside the normal. I have asthma and have been on steroids for 3 weeks now.

Just another anecdotal thought stream...


And Anita Dunn demanded to know who did the counting, ACORN or FOX NEWS?

You'd think someone at the White House would figure out that if they're going to be such babies about FOX News ("Wahhh!" Glenn Beck is using our own words against us! Wahhh!!!"), our enemies will figure out that this administration is going to be pretty weak against said enemies.



I've had a cold of some sort since August and I really can't figure out what the hell is going on.

Mebbe just ask your own doctor that question of treatment.

Jane, that's either a new, untreated as yet, chronic condition, or a possibly treatable acute condition. The hanging on is troublesome. Find a specialist in troublesome.


Yeah you are probably right. I'm trying one last cure...my medical insurance only allows one doctor visit a year - you know that plan I pay $700 a month for.


Seems like doctors and lawyers are prime candidates for bartering each other's services. Being a win-win, it's likely illegal.

Jack is Back!


Next time in Jakarta or Singapore try Bintang. That is bahasa indonesian for "white star". IOW, its from the brewery Heineken built in old Batavia back during the time Indonesia was called the Dutch East Indies. Begus sekali!


Do all runners in Detroit have bullet holes in their backs or was it just these three?


Terima kasay JiB,

Will take it for action.

The comments to this entry are closed.