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Apr 2, 2009
Marathon Runner Heart Study-TCM Comments Views- 415

Dear Runners,

Twin Cities Marathon, Inc. (TCM, Inc.) supports research that improves the lives of runners. TCM, Inc.'s Medical Director, Dr. Bill Roberts, and his colleagues are conducting a study of marathon runners and they need your assistance. The following letter is from Dr. Bill and his colleagues:

"We are investigating the heart muscle and blood vessels in male marathon runners who have completed at least 1 marathon a year for 25 years or more. We hope to study 50 marathoners and need an additional 25 to complete the study. This started as a study of the men in the Twin Cities Marathon Charter Club and is being expanded to increase the number of subjects. If you or one of your friends meet these qualifications and would like more information, please contact Gretchen Piechel (612-863-8098) or William Roberts (651-793-5603).

This study is a unique cardiac evaluation of repetitive marathon runners. There is controversy in the medical literature over the value and potential health risk of training for and running numerous marathons. Many physicians and physiologists believe that persistent long distance running is cardio protective and life enhancing. A minority of cardiologists have suggested that chronic marathoning may accelerate the development of coronary disease.

The simplest way to detect occult or unappreciated coronary disease is with a non-invasive imaging technique called multi-slice or fast CT scanning. This is a quick way to image the inside of the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle. We hope that you will be able to participate in a study that will use this technique to assess the presence or absence of coronary disease in long term marathoners.

The three of us conceived of this study with each having a unique interest in your well being. Dr. Roberts has been providing medical direction to the Twin Cities Marathon since the first race in 1982 and is still the chief Medical Director for the marathon. Dr. Schwartz is Medical Director of the Minnesota Cardiovascular Research Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis and has helped establish one of the premier cardiac scanning centers in the world. Dr. Oesterle is a senior vice president at Medtronic, and is a veteran marathoner who has used fast CT imaging of his heart to help modify his lifestyle and training routines.

The details of the study will be fully disclosed to you. We hope you will consider participating in this study at no cost to you to help determine the health risks and benefits of distance running and to assess your personal cardiovascular health.


William Roberts, MD

Robert Schwartz, MD

Stephen Oesterle, MD

2009 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon registration gets underway at 12:01 a.m., Friday, April 17th. Visit for more details.


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