THE 50th anniversary staging of the Elche Half-Marathon was marred on Sunday by the death of a young local runner.
The 21-year-old man collapsed after crossing the finishing line.
He was taken to Elche General Hospital where he died shortly afterwards from a suspected heart attack.
Unseasonal hot weather made the course tougher than ever with two other athletes needing hospital treatment.
3,200 people participated in Sunday’s event with organisers sending their condolences to the deceased man’s family.
A statement said: “Health services did everything possible including his quick transfer to hospital.”
Elche mayor, Carlos Gonzalez, sad: “We deeply regret this sad event on such big day during an event that is so loved by the people of Elche.”
“We appreciate the work done by the health services, in addition to the volunteers, the police, and organisers to help the runner who sadly died,” the mayor added.
The Elche event is the world’s longest-running half-marathon with the men ‘s race won by Britain’s Ben Cooper and Morocco’s Hilali Siham victorious in the women’s race.