CLEVELAND — A Medina woman who collapsed Sunday while running the 42nd annual Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon has died, according to race officials.
In a Twitter message, it was confirmed that Taylor Ceepo, 22, was a participant in the race who died before crossing the finish line.
“We are extremely saddened to learn of the passing of the young woman who collapsed during the race this morning,” the message said. “Our thoughts and sympathy go out to her family and friends at this time.
“We appreciate all of your comments and input. Certainly, this is a very sad and emotional situation,” added a second message from the Cleveland Marathon page. “We are looking into it and will respond appropriately once we have examined all options. Right now, we join the community in expressing our sympathy to the family of Taylor.”
The signature Cleveland event that takes runners through a 26-mile course that starts and ends in downtown Cleveland got its start in 1978. Each year, thousands of runners take to the streets in not just the marathon, but also a half marathon and smaller distance races held Saturday, making the Cleveland Marathon a two-day event.
Sunday was a warm race day as temperatures climbed into the low 80s by late morning, according to the National Weather Service.
Officials from University Hospitals, which provided medical support during the race, told Cleveland media outlets they treated between 60 and 70 racers along the course for such things as heat illnesses, dehydration, muscle strain and injuries.
Ceepo graduated from St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron in 2015. According to the school’s Campus Ministry Twitter account, a mass will be held in the school’s chapel at 7:15 a.m. today.
“Our hearts are broken,” the message also said.
The school asked for love and prayers to junior Bella Ceepo for the loss of her sister.
“Bella, we love you, and we are here for you,” a message said.
Ceepo went on to attend Walsh University, where she played soccer.
The school issued a statement Sunday.
“Taylor graduated just a few weeks ago from Walsh University, with biology - pre professional major, and minors in both psychology and chemistry. Taylor was a member of the Women’s Soccer Team, and hailed from Medina. Her mother, dear friends, and her boyfriend (also a Walsh student) were with her. Our love and deepest sympathies go to her family and loved ones. Your Walsh family will keep you all in prayer.”
Other messages of support from fellow racers and race organizers poured in after the news of Ceepo’s death.
“Our thoughts and prayers to 22-year-old Taylor Ceepo of Medina who sadly passed away near the finish line of the Cleveland Marathon,” said a message on the Summa Health Medina Half Marathon & 5K Facebook page. “May our running community surround her family and friends with love and strength during this very sad time.”