SYDNEY — A Cape Breton teenager died on Sunday after participating in her first full marathon.
Emma van Nostrand, 18, collapsed during the Goodlife Toronto Marathon, with just over two and a half miles left in the race.
“It was during the marathon around maybe the 24-mile mark and she collapsed and they don’t really know what the cause was,” said local runner Lauchie MacKinnon of the Cape Breton Road Runners group. “It may have been dehydration, nobody really knows. Information is scanty right now.”
MacKinnon said the teen’s parents, Steve and Katherine van Nostrand of Coxheath, were also in Toronto on Sunday, where Steve completed the half-marathon, and Katherine completed the full marathon.
MacKinnon described them as a “running family” and said the Cape Breton running community was in shock about the news of Emma van Nostrand’s death.
“She was in good shape, she was a good runner,” said MacKinnon. “She’s run lots of half-marathons . But whatever happened, nobody knows right now.”
Members of the van Nostrand family made news a couple of weeks ago after returning unharmed from the Boston Marathon where Steve completed the world famous marathon for the seventh time in a row. Explosions during the race killed three people and injured more than 260.
Toronto police confirmed to the Canadian Press on Sunday evening that an 18-year-old woman taking part in the race died during the event.
Police say she suffered a medical emergency and was pronounced dead in hospital — no other details were released.
Joe Chisholm, principal of Riverview High School where van Nostrand was a Grade 12 honour student, said a crisis intervention team will be on hand today to help teens cope with her death.
He said van Nostrand was well-known among the 1,000-member student body for her academic involvement and athletics such as soccer and basketball.
“She has a lot of friends at the school,” said Chisholm. “The kids are going to take it pretty tough. It’s quite a shock. It’s a great loss to the school community and our thoughts are with her family, Steve and Katherine, her parents, and she has brothers and sisters. So it’s going to be really tough for the whole community.”
MacKinnon said van Nostrand was planning to attend university in the fall.