Mexican athlete María Guadalupe González collapsed on the finish line Sunday, but not before she broke a record and won a gold medal in the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada.
The 26-year-old finished the 20-kilometer race walk event in a Games record time of 1:29:24, breaking that of 1:32:28, the record set by Guatemalan Jamy Franco in 2011 in Guadalajara.
From the start of the race, González took the lead along with Canadian Rachel Seaman, who began falling back after the first kilometer.
But the heat and humidity made it a grueling event for all the competitors. The forecast for Sunday was 31 C and the humidity was said to have reached 90%.
Five runners had to drop out of Saturday’s women’s marathon, held under similar conditions.
Following the race, the Mexican runner was treated by medical staff for severe dehydration and later hospitalized for observation. She was completely dehydrated, said the head of the Federation of Athletic Associations, Antonio Lozano.
He said she began feeling poorly after the 19th kilometer but thought only of crossing the finish line. Lozano said the “excellent result” was due to her “admirable concentration.”
Her medal was the 12th gold for Mexico and has raised expectations for the country’s performance at next year’s Olympic Games in Brazil.
Mexico is sixth in the gold-medal standings in Toronto with 13; the United States leads with 62 followed by Canada with 54 and Brazil with 30. The games began July 10 and wrap up today.