Yesterday, a competitor in the London marathon collapsed and died. The event warranted a headline on the BBC news. The article pointed out that someone collapsed and died two years ago.
Now, of course, running a marathon puts a huge strain on competitors; but these people should be fitter than average. So how surprising are these statistics?
A very small calculation, taking the average lifetime of a person to be 70 years, the average marathon time to be 5 hours, and the number of competitors 36000, shows that the expected number of ordinary people who would die during the equivalent period of ordinary life would be just over 1/4.
So it seems that the answer is, not at all surprising.
I did a similar calculation at about the time I ran the London marathon for the first time. The number then was very similar.