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Last official 09 Ironman Wisconsin finisher spends 35 hours in hospital after the race

Posted Oct 13 2009 10:00pm

Bill Bill Enright was the last official triathlete to cross the finish line at this year' s Ironman Wisconsin crossing the line in a time of 16 hours, 56 minutes and 28 seconds.

With just under four minutes to spare before the race closed you would think that he would be over the moon to finish the Ironman in the nick of time.

"I sort of just reached for the ground -- it could' ve been broken glass and I would' ve laid on it," Enright said.

But while the Ironman took the 43-year-old Madison insurance executive and father of three, just under 17-hours to finish, the stay in the hospital that followed the race took 35-hours and almost killed him because his serious condition could have led to permanent kidney failure.

Enright suffered from rhabdomyolysis, a muscle breakdown caused by strenuous physical exertion, according to the Wisconsin State Journa l.

Rhabdomyolysis is rare, serious and preventable, Dr. Lee Faucher, medical director for Ironman Wisconsin since 2004 said. It' s a condition he' s seen at ultramarathons but never at the Ironman. "A person gets that because they don' t take in enough fluids to compensate for the loss of fluid," he added.

"It was a great accomplishment completing the Ironman, but in retrospect I wish he had stopped earlier," Dr. Cate Ranheim, who treated him, said. "The system is set up to encourage people to go, go, go and make it to the end, but people like him can potentially suffer lifelong consequences."

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