Local man dies after Virginia Beach half marathon

By Laura Geller - bio | email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – We are learning new information about the Henrico man who died after running a half marathon in Virginia Beach over the holiday weekend.

Sean McCarthy became sick and later died after crossing the finish line at Sunday's "Dodge Rock 'n' Roll" half marathon.

Neighbors told NBC12 there's not one bad thing they can say about McCarthy. Virginia Beach Police reported he had no known medical problems. Now those who knew the 27-year-old are struggling to understand how he died doing an activity they saw him enjoy frequently.

McCarthy ran 13.1 miles Sunday. But just before he crossed the finish line, someone saw him having trouble. He was taken to the medical tent and then on to Virginia Beach General Hospital.

He after finishing a race he had worked hard to train for.

Sports Backers confirmed McCarthy was on one of their marathon training teams. He was in the intermediate cobalt group, meaning before he even started this program, he was already able to run 20 to 25 miles a week.

Neighbors in the Boulder Run Court cul-de-sac in Henrico's West End would often see McCarthy and his wife of just over a year running through the streets.

Luciana Vozza lives two doors down from the newlyweds who moved in almost two years ago.

"Just always willing to help anybody," is how she described McCarthy. "So it's just very shocking to see somebody so young go through something like this, especially a newlywed couple."

Runners said the conditions Sunday were ideal for the race. This isn't the first time tragedy has come to the Virginia Beach Half Marathon. Last year, a 23-year-old man collapsed and died while running.

"We all like to push ourselves," said Vozza. "Anybody who's doing a race really likes to push themselves, but I think it's something that we need to take more seriously.  It's just sad."

New Jersey-native McCarthy was a research director at the Virginia Tourism Corporation. The agency's chief executive officer called the death a tremendous loss and said McCarthy was a brilliant, loving and devoted man who made important contributions to the tourism industry.

We are still awaiting a cause of death from the medical examiner.

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