Fallen runner is decorated war hero

The 25-year-old runner who collapsed and died after crossing the finish line at the Music City Marathon Saturday has been identified as a decorated Army veteran, home after serving five tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Army Staff Sgt. Benjamin “Levi” Pigman completed the half-marathon course in two hours and 16 minutes, then collapsed. Despite the efforts of rescue workers at the scene and at the hospital, he later died at Nashville General Hospital. The command at Fort Campbell, where he served, confirmed his identity this evening.

Pigman’s death is being described as a “sudden cardiac event.” Although temperatures were higher than normal Saturday, Dr. Lewis Maharan, the Country Music Marathon and Half Marathon medical director, said the death was not a result of the heat.

“This was not a heat-related incident,” Maharan said. “It was a cardiac incident. I can say that with certainty. … He was immediately taken care of.”

A native of Hamilton, Mont., Pigman volunteered for the military in 2001. He had served as a helicopter engine mechanic with the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment at Fort Campbell since 2002.

He had been deployed to combat five times, four times to Afghanistan, once to Iraq, and had multiple commendation and achievement medals for his service.

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