Monday, December 11, 2006

Ultrarunner and blogger Marc Witkes dies at Tucson Marathon

40-year-old ultramarathoner and triathlete Marc Witkes unexpectedly died of a heart attack at mile 21.5 of the Tucson Marathon this Sunday. Although I didn't personally know Marc, I had read his blog on many occasions, and knew he had completed some of the craziest endurance sports out there (double- and triple-Ironman, Sri Chimnoy 700-mile, Hardrock, and more). He was an active board member of the Hardrock 100, and the President of the popular Durango Moterless Transit (running) Club. He was always promoting local Durango athletes and their accomplishments in triathlon, XTerra, and ultrarunning. He will certainly be missed.

You can read more about Marc's untimely death here at the Arizona Daily Star. If you don't mind the eerie feeling of reading his rather-current blog, you can also do so here. He was a gifted sports writer.

My heart is out to his friends, family, and the endurance athletes of Durango. I hope we all can feel good knowing that he died doing what he loves, and would want nothing more than for us to continue. Tomorrow's run is dedicated to Marc - you were 5 miles from finishing the marathon at a 6:35 min/mile pace, so I will complete it for you to honor your spirit.

Cheers, SD


  1. Is this Jim Fixx all over again? It's so sad to see a 40-year-old in great shape struck like this.

  2. I am shocked by this. In our world of fitness and seemingly superhuman feats, we all get the sense that we are immortal. Marc certainly fit into the "superhuman category" in my book. He and his wife, Cathy Tibbetts, were regular fixtures on the Colorado ultra circuit and I could always look forward to seeing Marc's happy face at one of the Hardrock aid stations. He will be hugely missed.

    Beyond his athletic gifts, Marc had overcome significant adversity in his life. He writes of his recovery from a terrible accident in Neal Jamison's book, Running Through The Wall.

    Peace to everybody this holiday,
    Cherish what you have, while you have it,

    Garett Graubins

  3. This quote was in the Durango newspaper:

    John McAward, who has been a friend and frequent running partner for 16 years, said Witkes was "the most social runner you'd ever want to be with.

    "He'd stay with you, walk or crawl with you," McAward said. "And he'd talk the whole time if you let him."

    It sounds like "Wiggy" was top notch.

  4. I have been a friend of Marc's for over 22 years. I was shocked and I am deeply saddened to hear the news of his passing. In many cases when someone dies their faults are all forgotten and they become this paragon. Marc was a shining example of what it means to be a fierce athlete, loyal friend, and always at the ready with a smile. Running was his passion, but he always made time for family and friends. He was one of the most loyal and best friends I will ever have in my lifetime! Although I am not a runner I couldn't help but respect his endurance and determination. He was an inspiration to everyone who knew him. Marc, you will be missed.

    1. I have spent the last thirty minutes or more reading about and looking at picture after picture of runners who have died. There must be some incredible cover up that runners have not been aware of. If you cannot define the word excitotoxins don't feel bad this program just considered it a non or misspelled word. If you google neurosurgeon Dr. Russell Blaylocks article he explains sudden death syndrome which occurs to so many runners very well. Just google athlete alert 460000. The 460,000 is the number of people who die in a year according to the Center for disease control and Dr. Blaylock will give you the exact cause which the FDA is done such a good job of covering up. The running world should make this article go viral and save thousands of lives every year.

  5. I didn't know until I got home from my trip to the Tucson marathon that the downed runner I saw shielded by two police cycles was Marc Witkes or that he died on the course there that morning. I understand that he was a great guy and had come to Tucson to try and qualify for Boston. I'll remember him next April 16th as I'm waiting for the start in Hopington. In at least that sensw he'll be at the race he paid such a terrible price to try and take part in.

    One minor correction for the original entry...Marc collapsed just after mile 26 at the top of the last hill just before the turn onto El Conquistador road. He was less than 300 yards from the finish.

    Rest gently, Mark Witkes

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