During the 42nd annual Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon held Sunday, a participant died after she collapsed about a quarter-mile from the finish line. The runner was identified as 22-year-old Taylor Ceepo who recently graduated from Walsh University, North Canton, Ohio, where she majored in biology and played soccer. She went to high school at Akron’s St. Vincent-St. Mary, which is also NBA superstar LeBron James’ alma mater.
Ceepo was immediately taken to University Hospitals, where she was declared dead on arrival. The cause of death was not directly known as University Hospitals spokesman George Stamatis could not provide any more information about her condition because of HIPAA laws.
About 15,000 runners participated in the charitable race that strives to provide “a fitness experience for all individuals who want to participate regardless of their abilities.” Prior to the race's commencement, participants were told they could run or walk as the temperatures reached into the 80s.
”It is my sad duty to inform you that a beloved member of our Walsh family, Ms. Taylor Ceepo, collapsed today while running the Cleveland marathon and has passed away. Taylor graduated just a few weeks ago from Walsh University, with a biology – pre professional major, and minors in both psychology and chemistry.” Walsh vice president for student affairs Amy Malaska wrote in a statement.
“Taylor was a member of the Women’s Soccer Team, and hailed from Medina. Her mother, dear friends and her boyfriend (also a Walsh student) were with her. Our love and deepest sympathies go to her family and loved ones. Your Walsh family will keep you all in prayer,” Malaska added.
The marathon organizers also released a statement saying, “We are extremely saddened to learn of the passing of the young woman who collapsed during the race this morning. Our thoughts and sympathy go out to her family and friends at this time.”
Runner deaths at marathons are regrettably becoming common for a variety of health reasons. Just the day before the incident, a 48-year-old runner passed away in a Tobago marathon, and a 29-year-old died after participating in the London Marathon last year.