An innocently-taken health supplement bought legally online probably led to the death of Claire Squires a mile short of the London Marathon finishing line.
Claire (30), of North Kilworth, put a scoop of Jack3D in her water bottle for the run on April 22 last year, an inquest at Southwark Coroner’s Court was told.
But she did not realise it contained DMAA – a stimulant which increases the heart rate and which would later be banned, the court heard.
Miss Squires, a hairdresser and keen runner, collapsed at Birdcage Walk after suffering a cardiac failure and died within two hours, the inquest ruled.
Her boyfriend, Simon Van Herrewege, told the inquest on Wednesday last week that Claire had been training hard in the run-up to the marathon.
He said: “For the marathon she built up the distances.
“She would regularly run with her sister. She knew what she was doing.”
Miss Squires had run the London Marathon two years before and wanted to beat her time of four hours.
Mr Van Herrewege told the inquest Miss Squires had ordered Jack3D online and taken it ‘two or three times’ prior to running the marathon but ‘did not particularly like it’.
“But she said she was going to take one scoop of it in her water bottle and drink the water as she went round the course,” he said.
“If she had a lull she might take the drink to give her a boost to get her through to the end of the marathon.
“I said I would meet her at the finish line.
“It got past four hours and we thought ‘never mind, she has not made her time’. And then we got the call.”
Coroner Dr Philip Barlow said there was a ‘clear theoretical risk’ of taking the substance during extreme physical exertion and no evidence Miss Squires was aware of that.
He said: “My hope is that the coverage of this case and the events leading up to Claire’s death will help publicise the potentially harmful effects of DMAA during extreme exertion.”
Recording a narrative verdict – a statement of facts in which only the known circumstances surrounding the death are recorded – Dr Barlow ruled: “Claire had taken a supplement containing DMAA which on the balance of probabilities in combination with extreme physical exertion caused acute cardiac failure which resulted in her death.”
He added: “She was obviously a very dedicated and well-motivated person. She died raising money for charity.
“I can only offer my condolences to all members of the family for a very tragic loss.”