When Bad Things Happen To Good People

Healthy Local Runner Drops Dead at 32. Um, Time to take Physical Inventory?

Mark Austry was healthy. Not an obsessed fitness nut, but healthy.

Played baseball at Texas Tech and with the Fort Worth Cats. Was a superb golfer. And, when he found time from being a devoted family man to wife and two kids, he got out and ran.

Sunday he dropped dead. At age 32. Literally seconds after crossing the finish line of the 13.1-mile half-marathon on Greenville Ave., Austry grabbed a bottled water, took two steps and collapsed. Never to be revived. Gone. Just like that.

Cue the chill bumps.

My annual physical check-up is scheduled for this afternoon. In the wake of Austry's death, it couldn't have come at a better time.

When the autopsy report comes out in a couple weeks, I'll be curious to find out if Austry died of some pre-condition, like an enlarged heart? Or did the over-exertion of running simply kill him?

Did being an athlete prolong his life? Or somehow short-circuit it?

I finished three marathons last millennium and fancied trying another last year until I got busy taking on a new job and dropping a wife.

Stories like this always make me stop and ponder:

A. Do we actually increase our life span by working out and eating healthy and not smoking?

B. Or will fate/destiny/God simply take us when it's time, regardless of our lifestyle?

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Richie Whitt
Contact: Richie Whitt