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Tuesday, 1 February, 2000, 17:36 GMT
Man dies in crucifix race




A man has died after taking part in a controversial endurance race involving some competitors carrying crucifixes over an assault course.

Michael Green, 44, collapsed three quarters of the way through the Tough Guy race held at Perton, near Wolverhampton.

First aiders and ambulance crews attempted to revive him, but he died later in New Cross hospital, Wolverhampton, of a suspected massive heart attack.



This man was an experienced runner and not someone just off the streets
Organiser Billy Wilson
The seven-mile race, held on Sunday, involves a number of the 5,000 competitors being selcted as "Jesus warriors".

Each carries a 30-40kg wooden crucifix over part of the course in memory of the "orginal tough guy" Jesus Christ.

The move has drawn criticism from church leaders who say it is disrespectful of Christ's walk to His death.

Mr Green, of Groby, near Leicester, was believed to have been affected by low temperatures when he collapsed, although it was later discovered he had not been carrying a cross.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: "The man was extremely hypothermic. I understand there were signs of life by the time he got to hosptal, but his body temperature had dropped to about 30 degrees.

"Tragically he died in hosptal."

The event's organiser, horse sanctuary owner Billy Wilson, said it was the first death in the race's 15-year history.

Medical advice

He said all competitors had been urged to seek medical advice before entering.

"This man was an experienced runner and not someone just off the streets," he said.

"He spoke to his wife after competing about three-quarters of the event and said he was feeling the cold.

"There was absolutely nothing more could be done. Paramedics said it was a heart attack that was waiting to happen.

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