Bay Area Runners Boycott Race Organizers; Support Peter Hass, Man Who Died at Half Marathon

Categories: Sports
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Taking it to the finish line
More than 160 Bay Area residents have signed an online petition asking people to boycott all events organized by RhodyCo Productions, the company that was responsible for the half marathon event where Peter Hass, 36, died last weekend.

The petition, which is being administered through change.org, also demands that Kaiser Permanente find a new race organizer for its annual half marathon event. The petition names Dave Rhody, of RhodyCo Productions, as well as officials with Kaiser Permanente as its targets.

"The lack of medical emergency support and preparation demonstrates deep negligence on the part of RhodyCo Productions, and in part, Kaiser Permanente, to safely put on an event of this size and distance," the petition states.

Hass had just completed the half marathon on Feb. 6 when he collapsed at the finish line. It took another 20 minutes before medical staff and paramedics came to assist Hass. Rob Dudgeon, deputy director with the city's Emergency Services Division, told SF Weekly that it was clear the medical assets at the race were "insufficient," and that the city was investigating  whether RhodyCo, which has been organizing fitness and sporting events for more than 20 years, had fully implemented its emergency plan.

Fire officials criticized the race organizers for not having sufficient medical staffing and equipment at the finish line. Yet RhodyCo said that paramedics were helping another runner when Hass collapsed. Volunteers and runners performed CPR on Hass while they waited for paramedics.

"This situation cannot happen again. RhodyCo has demonstrated its inability to sufficiently anticipate and ensure the safety and medical needs of event participants," according to the petition.

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Saturday
Saturday

GUARANTEED, there are hundreds of other events/races (triathlons, walkathons, running events, etc.) that are required to meet the same event guidelines set forth by the city and its agencies. and how many of those events do you think actually implement the plans? most events are fortunate to not have people dying at them (heart attacks, strokes, accidents, etc. can happen anywhere) so any overights on their part go unnoticed.

If you want real change to happen, it will happen at the public level where the regulations are set for issuing event permits. if rhodyco were responsible for this tragedy (which theyre NOT), then that is to imply that every single event should come up with its own emergency/medical plans, and the city agencies who set guidelines are irrelevant. if rhodyco were responsible (and again, it is NOT), then you will have a significant number of events shutting down b/c they are not going to assume liability that does not belong to them.

If the city requires 10 ambulances at an event, great. Responsible event organizers will comply. If they require 20, so be it. If the regulations/guidelines themselves are faulty, dont blame the people who adhere to them.

Norcal
Norcal

again you dont know the facts and have no clue what you are saying!

Brett
Brett

Every event held has a specific set of circumstances that must be addressed individually. The city can set their standards, but any company who wants to uphold their credible name has their own emergency plan that fulfills the city's standards, and addresses their own hazards.

To use an analogy, every car has four wheels, doors, a frame, etc. The government requires airbags, anti-lock brakes, etc. The government can say that car is roadworthy, but when they start flipping over from a fault in their design unforeseen before, its the car company's fault. I'll argue that this is the situation now. If proper equipment was readily available, he could have had a chance to survive. Instead he was never given that chance.

Emerald
Emerald

how much do you want to bet that half of the petition signers (not even 300 people) DO NOT EVEN RUN OR WALK, let alone in RhodyCo events?

Brett Miller
Brett Miller

As a runner in the event and an avid athlete there is a difference to be said about the "minimum standard" and what people should expect from an event of this magnitude. The organizer was unprepared for the conditions of the race.

From what I saw at the finish, and first hand reports from my friends who performed CPR on Peter, the delays of staff and equipment lead to the loss of any chance of saving him.

The people organizing this petition do not disregard the risks associated with running, or in everyday life, but as a runner, we trust the organizers to put forth their best effort to provide aid when catastrophes happen. This trust has been abused and RhodyCo and Kaiser must be made aware that people will not just stand by and let this situation pass.

Half Mary
Half Mary

zinsli.net shows that many of the petitioners have never run local races, or never run Rhody races. That is not a boycott.

faith b
faith b

runner,i ran in the event with my friend is also an EMT. immediately after we crossed the finish line SHE along with 3 other tired runners performed CPR on Peter for more than 20 minutes at the finish line. the MEDICIAL TEAM provided by the race was MIA! the doctor on call said that he checked out the situation and thought it was under control and left. you tell me.. WHAT ELSE COULD HAVE BEEN MORE PRESSING ON HIS TIME OTHER THAN A DYING MAN?we do not know if peter could have been saved, but what it exposed was terrible neglect in the planning and preparation of the medical demands for an event this size. maybe you should get all the facts yourself, before you claim that someone lying in need of serious medical attention for more than 20 MINUTES on the FINISH line constitutes as a well planned emergency response.

Ftw
Ftw

Faith, where did you hear the doctor left?

faith b
faith b

2 places first) from the one of the people who performed CPR on Peter two) he was quoted as saying such in one of the more recent articles (last thursday or friday)

Runner
Runner

Read the emergency planning guidelines for that the city requires event organizers to follow. based on what rhodyco planned (which was approved by the city), they met the standards. and they have been doing so for many years. No backup ambulance is required (the fire chief interviewed also stated this), and the one the race had was out for another emergency. If you want to boycott anyone, you can boycott the SF Fire Department for neglect. EVERYTHING ELSE ASIDE, and for the sake of hypothetical argument--suppose there was no race ambulance whatsoever....The SFFD was still called for an emergency by public citizens--period. That's a fact--nevermind that there was an event going on--they received an emergency call with an obligation to respond. And the SFFD did not respond for however long it took them to arrive. That it took the SFFD that long to arrive is not the fault of the race. Nor is it particularly the fault of the fire department, especially since they were given multiple locations--this was not the fault of the race either.

And like people have said, there is a risk of participating in any endurance event--this includes death, unfortunately. But it's a risk everyone takes when they sign up.

Dtsao
Dtsao

don’t wanna be heartless . . . there’s no proof that even if there’s an OR right there at the finish line, he wouldn’t have died . . . it’s a combination of things

A runner
A runner

Oh, puhleez. Some people will sign anything. Do we really want the situation where runners need to pay a $500 entry for a 5K and show up at 3am for a race morning physical? (Or, more likely, where no organizer will be willing to take on the liability of putting on a race?) Not to sound all Republican, but how about a tiny bit of personal responsibility, San Francisco?

Beg to Differ
Beg to Differ

We all sign page-long waivers that say that we could be injured or even die, and we all say (probably not truthfully in many cases) that we have been evaluated by a physician who has determined that we can safely run this event -- but sometimes people do die and that is sad, but it is not the fault of the organizer. I would wager that more people get run down on SF streets every year than have ever died in running events.

shoot happens
shoot happens

I have worked with Rhody Co and other Event Production companies in the city. RhodyCo has one of the best reputations, and is one of the most professional.

If you do some research, you will find out that people die during the Bay to Breakers, Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon, and probably the Nike Women's, & SF, Marathons but never has a company been dragged through the dirt like RhodyCo.

I feel for the guy's family, but honestly, I think the only reason this story still has legs is because the guy was the head of a local company, and has wealthy friends. If you boycott RhodyCo, I can give your 2-3 other running event producers who are more negligent, and probably deserve it more.

Norcal
Norcal

you have no F---ing clue about him or his friends. It is the co responsibility to have the proper medical staff and clearly it was not there.

George McHugh
George McHugh

Well some other reasons why this story wont go away: He dropped in front of a paramedic and was almost immediately treated by another paramedic and an ER physician. He dropped dead on the finish line, which is the most likely place for a runner to die of a heart attack during a marathon. I know of several stories like this and have not heard of anyone being revived. It is also standard at large races to have a medical tent at the finish that is staffed and has ALS equipment like AED's etc.

shoot happens
shoot happens

A couple references below from event related deaths during events run by good event organizers, found on a quick Google search. I don't think anybody can be fully blamed. RhodyCo, SFFD, and other organizations involved all shoulder some responsibility. Again, RhodyCo follows the requirements placed on them, maybe government agencies should revisit their requirements, but there are many race organizers who do not follow through with the requirements placed on them, and unfortunately, there is little recourse for the government agencies until their next event. I would run with RhodyCo before 2-4 other race managers who have runs in this city.

GGP is hard to navigate, I don't think SFFD should be fully blamed either, it was a tragedy that was a result of a perfect storm. RhodyCo says there were other medicals ongoing at the same time, the weather was 75 degrees in early February, it was tragic, I just think that the anger is being misdirected. I can guarantee RhodyCo will be running events with a higher than required emergency plan in the future, they will insist on it, that is their style.

http://articles.sfgate.com/200...http://articles.sfgate.com/200...http://articles.sfgate.com/200...http://forums.usms.org/showthr...Search "half marathon death" on google, and you will find many references with similarly tragic results.

RhodyRace
RhodyRace

THAT NEEDED TO BE SAID--Thank you. This is a clear tragedy, but a complete F***ING joke that RhodyCo has been maligned the way it has been. This only motivates me to sign up for the next RhodyCo race in March. MULTIPLE city agencies have LONG worked with RhodyCo over the years for these events, and people at ISCOTT, Parks & Rec, etc. would not speak negatively of RhodyCo's professionalism and dedication to the sport and the greater community.

Djtennessee
Djtennessee

I ran that two years ago and honestly felt my health was in danger. There is NO SHADE and very little water on the second half of the run. I am astonished that a health care company sponsored a race that so throughly ignored health risks. Anyone's who's run a marathon or half maratyhon would realize the organizers are very, very much to blame.

KeepingItReal
KeepingItReal

No shade? Seriously? What kind of freaking Diva are you? What other half marathons have you run that are substantially shaded? You actually expected that? Anyone who's run a marathon or half marathon knows there is a ton of exposure! Even novices and spectators know this. Who do you blame when you go to the beach and get sunburned?

Marathoner
Marathoner

If it was too hot for you, maybe you shouldn't have run the race. Why is the sun someone else's fault?

Runner
Runner

I ran the half marathon--and do not believe they are to blame.

Are you serious -- NO SHADE? and thats the fault of the organizers? There's PLENTY of water--they had at least 6 aid stations on the course. If that's not enough for you, then you have no business running a half marathon. Blame the runners for their ill-prepared training.

Demosolutions
Demosolutions

To me it's just another Kaiser HMO negligent action. Through negligence, they killed my Grandmother by mis-diagnosing stroke, and fouled up a shoulder surgery that I had.

Kaiser...Thrive? I think not.

Yomama
Yomama

It doesn't matter if people are missed or who whose at fault.

The person who died signed his life away knowing the risks of running in a marathon.

RLS
RLS

A.) You accept some inherent personal risk when you run a marathon. Let's not forget that the original marathoner of all also died at the end of his run. This illustrates nothing more than the American trend toward believing that life should be entirely risk-free, and that if it's not, someone else needs to be blamed.B.) The SFFD is not exactly an objective observer. It would like nothing more than additional mandates for its union members to be hired by the private sector to sit around at events garnering overtime. While I understand that this is only an SF Weekly article, one would still think they'd exhibit at least a cursory amount of integrity and balance.

runner
runner

I'm not getting why rhodyco needs boycotting.Their event organization has been very good historically: on this particular occasion someone died and it took a few minutes longer to get medics there. People collapse all the time on marathons and shorter races, speed of medical assistance varies depending on crowds etc. If you want to charge 200 bucks for a running race with hired medical crews every mile go ahead and organize it and see how many entrants you get. It's always going to be a crap shoot how long it takes medics to get to you in any situation. When you enter an endurance event you formally acknowledge the risks just as you do before you are allowed in a race car on a track. I'm sad for the runner's family that he died but statistically these things happen, we just don't know exactly where or when unfortunately...and I expect the rhodyco folks were dealing with lots of other not so urgent emergencies en route. It's hard to immediately know the difference between someone passing out and someone dying in these situations unfortunately...

EquityM
EquityM

Members of the the SFFD are behind this and for good reason:

1) Any Professional Emergency Agency wants you to forget that it took 22 minutes for the SFFD to arrive at an emergency in a 7 mile, square City. At budget hearings they claim 4 1/2 minutes anywhere in the City.

2) This is a lesson to all race organizers in the future to hire SFFD ambulance service and SFFD paramedics at $70 an overtime hour or you too will be the object of derision by our Department and we can organize a boycott against you.

In a movie, a fire Battalion Chief would be briefing his units at 8 A.M. that "we have a race occurring in our District this morning; lots of people, optimum level of alert for responding.This is the route through your 1st alarm assignment. This is the finish line." But only in the movies.

Instead, it was all about the Super Bowl Pool and "What's for Brunch?"

The "We got bad information that's why it took us 22 minutes" is the excuse in the SFFD Handbook just before "We were driving against strong head winds."

Halfer
Halfer

everyone would do well to WAIT FOR THE FACTS, as this article discloses more, before casting blame on anyone. The department head who criticized RhodyCo is the same department that APPROVED RhodyCo's medical emergency response plan BEFORE the race and the race DOCTOR testifies he was the scene. http://www.sfexaminer.com/loca...

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