Chest Pain While Marathon Running

I am an elite distance runner and competed for England in the Toronto marathon on Sunday. During the last 3-4 miles I developed a pain in the centre of my chest, this disappeared as soon as I stopped running at the end of the race.

I also felt a bit light headed and had black spots in my vision. Could you please give me some advice on this matter.

Answer by Dominique:

Hi Julie,
Thanks for your question about chest pain while running.

I am by no means an elite distance runner, nor a doctor. When it comes to running injuries and pain while running there is one big rule I try to follow: better safe than sorry.

Especially when it comes to chest pain. Look, the end of the marathon is a crazy stage. Your body is completely exhausted, you are running on empty. There are plenty of people who need to stop running and start walking, who faint etc. As a top athlete you just keep on going. So it can very well be just a sign of complete exhaustion.

After all, Emil Zatopek, the legendary long distance runner, once said:
"We are different, in essence, from other men. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon."

But because it is chest pain, I would encourage you to go see a doctor about it, see what the doctor says, maybe get a few tests done.

When the doctor says it is nothing, great, you'll get that confidence back in yout body and can move on. And in case something is up, at least you can then start working on treatment and prevention.

Good luck with this issue and with your further career.
Kind regards,

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