Teen dies after running Shamrock Half Marathon

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Virginia Beach, Va. - Already a talented swimmer, Cameron Gallagher, 16, decided to take on running as a new challenge.

After spending weeks training, the teen from Richmond traveled to Virginia Beach to take part in the Shamrock Half Marathon Sunday.

"Her entire mission was to enjoy the race and accomplish something and spread that cheer on to other people," said her dad, David Gallagher.

Her parents were there to cheer her on.

Gallagher says the race seemed to be going well at first, but at the 10-mile mark, his daughter was noticeably tired.

When she crossed the finish line, she gave her friend a hug, then collapsed.   Her heart had stopped.

Her dad says doctors did everything they could, but they weren't able to save her.

Gallagher says she although she was young, she was an inspiring person, and he hopes she can continue to inspire others even though she's gone.

"One message we want everyone to know: Cameron's last moments were joyous and happy," Gallagher said. "Her friends, her family and the entire Virginia Beach community was out there with her celebrating that, and I can't imagine a better way to feel in the last moments of a lifetime, is to feel accomplishments and set a goal. And I hope everybody takes that message and uses it in their own life."


  • Stacey Demick

    Peace be with her, her friends and her loved ones…words cannot take away your pain but you are in my thoughts and prayers!!!

  • Lorraine

    I was in the same aid tent as this little girl while emergency responders were working on her today. I could not stop thinking of her on my way home today. I will not forget the fright in her parents voices “dont worry honey mommy and daddy are here for you” no parent should EVER have to burry their child. Thoughts and prayers go out to this family.

  • Donna

    This is horrible. I just ran a marathon today, with my heart monitor and soo paranoid because the last marathon (Oct 13)I I felt something around my chest on mile 24, I am currently awaiting to see a specialist. I was diagnosed with possible..condrocontritis in past year. I’m 34, and she is a 16 year old girl. I wonder why they do not advertise and push the need for runners to check, or be eveluated with their doctors/ health professionals before running any race. Even simple educating about max heart rate, or VO2 will give ppl the knowledge to take care of themselves.

    • bettercareelsewhere

      If you look at people who do die from races, most of the time its 2 things: runners who drink a lot of water & get hyponatremia (mostly female first timers or not as experienced people who don’t realize you need salt also) or those like the girl above who was probably healthy and had an underlying obscure heart condition. So far, that’s mostly what I’ve seen in over 10 years of racing. There has been a good deal of press on getting people to not drink just water on the courses for the longer races.

      Still, oh my, prayers go to this poor girls’ family. Can’t imagine what they’re dealing with.

    • Eliza

      I too run with a heartrate monitor. I ran the 1/2 and was constantly checking to make sure I kept myself in a safe zone. Its so easy to let the excitement of the event push you to go harder, faster but one has to listen to their body and know their limits.
      She was too young to go. Poor child. So sad!

  • Mike

    Very heartbreaking to hear about this. I’ve done a few races to include a half marathon, and it is a risk that all runners take. I’m curious as to whether there were underlying health problems or did she just push herself too hard?

  • Carl D

    So sad for the family…but at least she died doing what she love most: running a marathon…God bless the family and this young 16 year old girl!

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