How safe is running a marathon? Heart doctors say it depends

  • In this November 1977 file photo, marathoner Jim Fixx runs on a road near his home in Connecticut. In July 1984, the acclaimed author and running guru died of a massive heart attack while trotting along a country road in Vermont. Boston Marathon race director Dave McGillivray is cautioning people thinking of running a marathon to talk with their doctors before hitting the road, especially if they have coronary artery disease or a family history of it. (AP Photo/Jerry Mosey, File)

  • In this Sept. 5, 2018, photo provided by Katie McGillivray, Boston Marathon race director Dave McGillivray gives the thumbs-up after undergoing an angiogram at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. McGillivray, recovering from subsequent open-heart triple bypass surgery, is cautioning people thinking of running a marathon to talk with their doctors before hitting the road, especially if they have coronary artery disease or a family history of it. (Katie McGillivray via AP)

  • This Nov. 1, 1977 file photo shows marathoner Jim Fixx near his Connecticut home where he runs just for the fun of it. In July 1984, the acclaimed author and running guru died of a massive heart attack while trotting along a country road in Vermont. Boston Marathon race director Dave McGillivray is cautioning people thinking of running a marathon to talk with their doctors before hitting the road, especially if they have coronary artery disease or a family history of it. (AP Photo/Jerry Mosey, File)

  • In this Oct. 14, 2018, photo provided by Katie McGillivray, Boston Marathon race director Dave McGillivray uses a walker after undergoing open-heart triple bypass surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. McGillivray, a lifelong competitor, is cautioning people thinking of running a marathon to talk with their doctors before hitting the road, especially if they have coronary artery disease or a family history of it. (Katie McGillivray via AP)

  • In this Aug. 23, 2018 file photo, Dave McGillivray, race director of the Boston Marathon, runs past fans inside Fenway Park, as he commemorates the last leg of his 80-day run in 1978 to benefit the Jimmy Fund, before a baseball game in Boston. A few months later, McGillivray underwent triple bypass surgery after suffering chest discomfort and difficulty breathing while running. He is cautioning people thinking of running a marathon to talk with their doctors before hitting the road, especially if they have coronary artery disease or a family history of it. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

BOSTON — It was the death heard ‘round the running world.

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