An avid trekker and runner, 64-year-old Gajendra Manjalkar suffered a cardiac arrest and died during the Tata Mumbai Marathon on Sunday morning, while 17 other runners were hospitalised, including one who suffered a heart attack and another a brain stroke.
The deceased was a retired bank clerk, who has been taking part in marathons for the past five years in the senior citizen category along with several colleagues from Canara Bank, where he worked. Manjalkar, his family said, had not eaten much during dinner on Saturday night.
“He left early morning for the marathon without eating breakfast. But since he is habituated to walking 7 km a day, we were not worried,” said his nephew Paresh.
Manjalkar, a Nallasopara resident, went for walks daily and frequent trekking trips. He was diagnosed with hypertension about three months ago.
“I remember asking him to have tea and biscuits before the marathon. After that, I thought maybe he was ahead or behind me. It was only after some time that I saw a crowd gathered by the sea face. When I reached there, I saw him lying unconscious,” said Shekhar Deshpande, a former colleague, who was taking part in the half-marathon.
Manjalkar was immediately administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and oxygen support through a medical camp posted nearby. “He was revived and referred to the Bombay hospital. He may have suffered another cardiac arrest,” said Dr Vijay d’Silva, medical director at the marathon. According to Dr Gautam Bhanushali, attached with Bombay hospital, Manjalkar was brought dead to the hospital.
The race for senior citizens began at 7.45 am. Manjalkar suffered a cardiac arrest at around 8.30 am. Manjalkar is survived by his wife, daughter and son. According to son Adwait, he took part in the marathon every year along with a large friend circle. “He was healthy and had no major illness in the past,” said his relative Paresh. After his retirement, his elder daughter started earning for the family.
Of 55,322 participants, 1,369 participants required medical assistance for dehydration, minor injuries, body pain, hypoglycaemia and muscle cramps on Sunday. Of them, 19 suffered severe dehydration.
“They were given intravenous rehydration therapy at the base camp and were subsequently sent home,” said d’Silva, also director of critical care at Asian Heart Institute.
Of the 17 marathoners who were hospitalised, nine were admitted in the Bombay hospital, six in Lilavati Hospital, one in Gokuldas Tejpal hospital and one in Hinduja hospital. Most suffered body pain and breathlessness.
“Some were suffering from breathlessness, one had a fracture and two patients were serious when they were brought. But they are all stable,” said Dr Abdul Sonawane, on-duty doctor in Bombay hospital.
Sanjay Bafna (51), who was running the half-marathon, suffered a brain stroke close to the finish line and was rushed to Bombay hospital. Another participant, Himanshu Thakkar (47), suffered chest pain. When he underwent tests at the medical camp, doctors realised he had suffered a heart attack. Both remain in intensive care unit.
Prashant Kekani (20) suffered fluctuating blood pressure but did not want hospitalisation. “His ECG was conducted,” said Dr Vivek Karad, medical officer in GT hospital. Doctors said lower temperatures in the last few days in Mumbai could also play a role in heart problems. Cold weather narrowed arteries in heart muscles, restricting blood flow, they said.
There were 12 cardiac ambulances deployed along the marathon route. The Asian Heart Institute, which partnered with Tata Mumbai Marathon, had set up 11 medical aid stations throughout the marathon route. They had 60 beds equipped to handle emergencies near Azad Maidan. More than 500 doctors, paramedics, and nurses were posted at the marathon.