Brazilian runner Daniel Do Nascimento was leading the New York City Marathon on Sunday until he collapsed at the 21-mile mark and lay motionless on the street while receiving medical attention.
It’s not clear exactly what caused Do Nascimento’s collapse. He ducked into a port-a-potty at Mile 18 for a reported 18 seconds and briefly slowed to walk at Mile 20. His breakdown could have been a matter of pacing—simply pushing himself too hard—or some kind of other bodily distress, which may explain the bathroom pit stop. But it’s likely that Sunday’s humidity and temperatures that reached the mid-70s didn’t help. Ideal temperatures for marathon runners are in the 40s and 50s; according to the New York Times, this was the hottest New York City Marathon since the race was moved from late October to early November in 1986.
Two days before the race, Do Nascimento told ABC News that he thought the heat would favor his chances.
“When I saw that it was going to be hot, it’s a great opportunity for me because I’m from a tropical country that’s so hot,” he said.
Do Nascimento, who reportedly recovered after a scary scene on the pavement, set a blazing pace before his collapse, running even faster than the race’s lead vehicle. According to one running coach, Do Nascimento was on pace to finish the race in 2:01:23, about seven minutes faster than the eventual winner.
Ultimately, Evans Chebet of Kenya won the men’s race in 2:08:41. Sharon Lokedi, also of Kenya, won on the women’s side, finishing in 2:23:23.