Seattle man dies at Chicago marathon

Luke Roach of Seattle, who died in Chicago yesterday running his first marathon, was bright, spiritual, athletic and looking forward to medical school.

Roach, 22, collapsed near the finish line at 10:30 a.m., about three hours into the Chicago Marathon. He was pronounced dead at Northwestern Memorial Hospital 45 minutes later.

The death was apparently heat-related, authorities said.

He had been running with a younger brother, William, and an older sister, Shannon, said a cousin, Joseph Roach of Pasco.

The two brothers ran side by side until the 26th-mile marker. They high-fived each other, and then William ran ahead. At the finish line, he waited for Luke but didn't find him.

Luke Roach was born and grew up in Pasco, where he had a large extended family, including 43 cousins. He had always been athletic, starring on the soccer team in high school and playing intramural soccer and softball at Carroll College in Helena, Mont., Joseph Roach said. He also loved the outdoors, frequently going fishing, camping and hunting.

He considered moving back one day to Montana, where he had worked as an outfitter in summers.

Roach had attended St. Patrick's grade school and junior high in Pasco. He had talked to his mother about feeling called to the priesthood, said family friend Steve Potter. Sometime soon, he was hoping to volunteer, perhaps with the Jesuits, in Peru.

Roach moved to Seattle after graduating from college with a major in biology and was applying for admission to medical school. He lived in the University District, and this summer had helped a doctor at the University of Washington Medical Center conduct research on new treatments for patients with chronic hepatitis.

The doctor, Kris Kowdley, who had just finished writing letters of recommendation for Roach, said he was "one of the most exceptional young men I've ever met in my life. Extremely courteous, hardworking, motivated."

Dr. Greg Ewert, medical director of the marathon, said preliminary information revealed that Roach's body temperature had elevated to 107 degrees.

Roach is the third person to die in the marathon's 24-year history and second in the past two years.

Last year, an Oklahoma man died of cardiac arrest after collapsing at the 22½-mile mark of the 26.2-mile race.

A woman died in 1998 because of low sodium levels.

Janet I. Tu can be reached at 206-464-2272. Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.