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Local businessman, 68, dies during N.C. triathlon
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Forsyth County News

CUMMING — A 68-year-old man who worked in Forsyth County died Saturday during a triathlon in North Carolina.

Roger Ackerman, a real estate agent for 21 Century Results Realty Services in Cumming, had a “cardiac episode” during the swimming stage of the PPD Beach2Battleship triathlon, a full and half-distance race, about 9:30 a.m., the StarNews Online reported. This was the race’s first fatality in its seven years.

Ackerman had been an agent with 21 Century in Forsyth for about two years, according to Terry Swanson with the company.

Ackerman’s family was not at the race, but his wife was “notified within minutes,” authorities said.

“To have to make a phone call to an individual that her husband passed away, that’s a terrible phone call to make,” the race’s director, Jeremy Davis, told local media at a news conference Saturday night. “And I can’t imagine what that phone call is like to receive.”

Ackerman became distressed about one-third of the way through the swim portion in Banks Channel at Wrightsville Beach and approached a race staff member, according to the article.

“Event staff were at his side immediately and began CPR,” said Dick Hones, CEO of the Wilmington Family YMCA. “Further efforts by staff and New Hanover Regional EMS were not successful at restarting his heart.”

An active endurance runner who had run more than 20 100-mile races, Ackerman had a stent in his heart but was cleared to compete in the triathlon by his doctor, Jones told the StarNews Online. He had completed four races during the summer.

The half-iron distance race, in which he was competing, included 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike and 13.1-mile run stages.