Did Water Given to Marathon Runners Make Them Sick? - 8 News NOW

Did Water Given to Marathon Runners Make Them Sick?

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LAS VEGAS -- Las Vegas Rock n' Roll Marathon officials say they are in the process of interviewing every person who claims to have been sick when they ran marathon last week. They want to know what they ate, when the side effects occurred, and how they felt after.

Sunday night, 44,000 runners were making their way down the Las Vegas Strip. Afterward, dozens of runners say they suffered painful muscle cramps and diarrhea. They believe it all started after they drank the water handed out to the runners.

One of those runners, Charlene Ragsdale, still has not recovered.

"It was at the turn, at El Cortez, when the horrific stomach cramps started," she said.

Her friend and fellow runner, Jill Whitaker, saw her in pain.

"Charlene looked like death warmed over her," she said.

Whitaker refused to drink the water after seeing it came from the street hydrants. But, she saw many others drink the water that was provided to race participants. Like Ragsdale, they claim it was the water that made them sick.

"Almost all of them said, 'I've had diarrhea,' or, 'I have been vomiting throughout the whole course,'" said Whitaker.

"I think the first thing is, you can't conclusively say it has anything to do with the water," said J.C. Davis with the Las Vegas Valley Water District.

Davis says every hydrant was tested for bacteria and swabbed thoroughly, but they cannot guarantee what happened to the water after it passed through that hydrant. The cups, hoses and pitchers were the responsibility of marathon organizers.

"The hydrant water is potable water. It's not different than any faucet in someone's home," said race organizer Dan Cruz.

Cruz says as in every race they put on across the country, every hose was cleaned, flushed and tested. The organizers of the race are now investigating the situation. 

Marathon officials issued this apology, saying, "They've taken the past 48 hours to analyze, identify major problems and plan for future improvements."

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