How safe is running a marathon? Heart doctors say it depends

BOSTON (AP) — In the run-up to next Monday’s Boston Marathon, doctors are recommending that athletes everywhere keep close tabs on their heart health.

Boston race director Dave McGillivray echoes that advice. He had triple bypass surgery last fall after suffering chest pain and difficulty breathing while running. McGillivray has a message for anyone who has coronary artery disease or a family history of it: “Being fit and being healthy aren’t the same things.”

Thirty-five years ago this summer, acclaimed author and running guru Jim Fixx’s heart attack death while jogging gave the world a wake-up call that runners aren’t immune to heart problems.

New research is providing a more nuanced look at “extreme exercise” and the pros and cons of running long.

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