Local News

Runner remembered as 'full of life'

Posted April 14

— Raleigh resident Derrick Myers  was one of the two runners who died Sunday in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, his parents confirmed Monday.

Myers was the father of two children and an avid athlete who played soccer, biked, swam and snowboarded, they said. He celebrated his 35th birthday the day before participating in the half-marathon.

"Derrick was full of life," said his mother, Barbara Myers. "Lived life to the fullest every day. He never met a stranger – he knew people around the world. Our phone and doorbell have been ringing since his passing."

Race organizers said Derrick Myers collapsed at the finish line. He received immediate medical attention and was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Barbara Myers and her husband, Michael Myers, said they are waiting to find out the exact cause of death.

"He was a health freak," Michael Myers said. "He was always on me and his mom for not eating right."

His parents said Myers graduated from Oklahoma State University and worked in information technology for Etix.

Funeral services will be held for Myers in Rocky Mount on Thursday.

The deaths of Myers and another runner – an unidentified 31-year-old man who collapsed near 11-mile marker of half-marathon – weighs heavily on the minds of many who participated in Raleigh's first Rock 'n' Roll Marathon.

Linda Hatala encountered the unidentified runner and emergency medical workers near the 11-mile mark, just as she crested a hill.

“When we got to the top, I saw someone down with a sheet up and they were doing CPR,” she said Monday. “I've run these races many times before, and I've never actually experienced something like that before. I was fearful for that person.”

What Hatala didn't see were the five runners, strangers, who stopped to give him CPR while they waited for EMS to arrive.

Hatala saw Myers down and receiving medical attention just before the finish line.

“I just couldn't believe it,” she said.

Cardiologists say that, while is unusual for two men in their 30s to collapse during a race, people who experience such an incident often have underlying, undiagnosed heart conditions.

“I think it would be a good idea to see a physician before you consider participation in strenuous endurance events,” said Dr. Pavlo Netrebko, a cardiologist with WakeMed Physician Practices. “The majority of those congenital conditions could be picked up at a routine screening at fairly low cost.”

Many runners said seeing the two men on the ground is something they will never forget.

“I was really upset yesterday,” Hatala said. “It was very bittersweet yesterday.”


This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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  • SeaDog Apr 16, 5:32 p.m.

    RIP and God bless.

  • rduwxboy Apr 15, 6:12 p.m.

    It's a sad situation. Rather than pass judgement, he left earth doing something be wanted to do. If only we all can be so fortunate.

  • conservatism is right Apr 15, 3:16 p.m.

    I ran by the gentleman who was down near mile 11-12 and it was a horrible scene....I still cannot believe ABC decided to post a picture of this!

    I have had chest pains in the past and ran the gammit of tests including stress, EKG, ultrasound, and CT scan of my heart but when it's your time to go it's your time to go. It could have been me or anybody else out there who didn't make it, but it's a hobby we enjoy and we will continue to do it.

    Prayers go out to the families, may God comfort them in this trying time.

  • LetsBeFair Apr 15, 2:06 p.m.

    Of the times I've seen folks die it was either congenital or one having an adverse diet for the task. Jim Fixx, the grandfather of running, died at an early age and had a congenital heart issue.

  • The Oracle Apr 15, 12:54 p.m.

    I think it is a little strange that these 2 men in their early 30's both died within 2.5 miles... View More

    — Posted by 42kman

    You should have your posting privileges revoked for such an asinine, muckraking comment.

    — Posted by eyepeefreelee

    Maybe you should look up the definition of muckraker.

  • keeprightexcepttopass Apr 15, 12:37 p.m.

    All runners for any race, no matter the length, sign waivers, basically saying "I'm an adult and I understand this is a strenous activity and if I get hurt, sick or die it's on me." I've run 6 half-marathons and numerous 5k's and 10k's and have always signed waivers. So placing any blame on the organizers is ridiculous. Sadly, this young man who was albeit athletic, routinely would just up and decide to run a half with only a week of training. Sadly, I believe it was that poor decision that ultimately caused his death. You can't take running lightly.

  • Obamacare returns again Apr 15, 11:47 a.m.

    I think it is a little strange that these 2 men in their early 30's both died within 2.5 miles... View More

    — Posted by 42kman

    This was my first thought as well. I would not rule out terrorism at this point.

  • edanderson369 Apr 15, 11:27 a.m.

    it's tragic anytime anyone dies so young, my heart goes out to the families. However the idea... View More

    — Posted by Its me again

    Yes, Yes, YES!!! Personal Responsibility. They chose to run the race and while I hate that they died and I mourn with the families, the race organizers did not force them to run. Their choice. Their responsibility to get the medical check-up. I wish everybody would just put on their big-boy pants and quit relying on the Nanny State to take care of them.

  • Minarchist Apr 15, 11:12 a.m.

    “I think it would be a good idea to see a physician before you consider participation in... View More

    — Posted by "Screen Name-8/20"

    a responsible organizer would have a team on cardiologist on hand to examine all participants... View More

    — Posted by I am not who you think I am

    How about being an adult and taking care of yourself? WOW what a concept!!

  • Minarchist Apr 15, 11:11 a.m.

    Time to ban marathons.