Vienna triathlete dies after completing swimming leg of Luray’s Sprint race on Sunday

Page News and Courier

LURAY, Aug. 18 — A man who was competing in the Luray Triathlon at Lake Arrowhead died Sunday after completing the swimming leg of the race.
While exiting the lake, Chris Eaton, 49, of Vienna, “exhibited signs of distress,” according to a press release issued Monday by Set Up Events, which helps produce the annual two-day event.
“Medical care was immediate and continued throughout transport to the hospital,” the news release states. “Sadly, it was reported later that lifesaving measures, though heroic, were unfortunately unsuccessful.”
A cause of death has not been released.
According to Sam Gee, a volunteer who was directing swimmers from the lake to stairs leading to the event's cycling area, Eaton emerged from the lake to “quick and decisive” medics who were stationed at the lake.
“I really think they should be commended,” Gee said. “Their response time was so fast and so efficient.”
Eaton was competing as a relay participant in Sunday's race through “Team Z.” The team is made up of several dozen athletes, and has helped supply competitors at the two-day Luray event since its inception in 2006.
Eaton's teammates completed Sunday's race in his honor, according to the news release.
The swimming competition comes during the first leg of the the Luray Triathlon's Sprint Race, followed by a 17-mile bike ride and 5K run. The race is a shorter version of Saturday's International Race.
According to a study released last year by USA Triathlon, there were 43 race-related fatalities at USA Triathlon-sanctioned events from 2003 to 2011. The overall fatality rate for competing athletes in that time period is about one per 76,000 participants.
Of those 43 fatalities, three occurred during the run, eight occurred during the bike, 30 occurred during the swim and two occurred after an athlete had completed a race.

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