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Whit Riske, 37-Year-Old Energy-Solutions Manager, Dies in Rock 'n' Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon

Whit Riske, 37-Year-Old Energy-Solutions Manager, Dies in Rock 'n' Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon
Whit Riske via Facebook

A man who died in the Rock 'n' Roll Los Angeles half marathon yesterday, previously thought to be 40 years old, has since been identified as 37-year-old Charles Whitmore Riske III of Costa Mesa.

He died just one half-hour after collapsing at Hope Street and West Olympic Boulevard. The 13.1-mile race had begun at 8:30 7:30 a.m. -- so the spot where Riske fell an hour two hours later, at 9:35 a.m., indicates he was almost halfway into the race at the finish line when the accident occurred. (Route map below.)

Riske is pictured on Facebook...

... with his wife, Jill Crane Riske, and a small baby. He looks to be the same Whit Riske who founded and managed Catalyst Development Partners, an Irvine company that "works with commercial property owners to design and build strategic energy-saving solutions," according to its website. And his LinkedIn says he graduated from Northern Arizona University for "construction management."

Riske's company profile makes him out to be an uber-involved O.C. businessman:

With more than a dozen years of experience in the real estate and construction industry, Whit Riske brings a unique relationship-driven style of management to Catalyst. He is a founder and managing principal of Catalyst, and he oversees all business operations and strategic initiatives for the company.

Prior to forming Catalyst, Mr. Riske worked for Wentz Group and Snyder Langston, where he helped manage over a half a billion dollars of construction projects. His most prominent projects include Shady Canyon Golf Club, the Merage Jewish Community Center, University Research Park Phases 12 and 13 (Broadcom), and the Resort at Pelican Hill Hotel, Spa and Pool Grill in Newport Coast.

Mr. Riske is an active member of the community, supporting various outreach and professional organizations. He is a member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI), the United States Green Building Counsel (USGBC), and NAIOP's Young Professionals Group (NAIOP, YPG), where he serves as the Vice Chair of the YPG Alumni Committee. He is a LEED Accredited Professional and holds a B.S. of Construction Management from Northern Arizona University, College of Engineering.

As far as marathons go, Rock 'n' Roll Los Angeles is marketed as more of an amped-up, on-steroids commercial event than a wholesome green thing. The route preview plays like a videogame, with big Dodge logos everywhere -- very L.A. Live, where the starting gun was fired. Some have also criticized the race for running its participants up alongside smoggy freeways (ironic, considering it's an athletic endeavor).

Riske fell at Olympic and Hope, where the half marathon ends.
Riske fell at Olympic and Hope, where the half marathon ends.

"We regretfully confirm that a participant passed away after Sunday's half marathon,'' the race's medical director, Dr. Lewis Maharam, told City News Service in an official statement. "We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss and our heartfelt sympathies go out to the runner's family and loved ones.''

Patrick Crane, brother-in-law to the victim, shared the following photo on Twitter yesterday:

"R.I.P Whit Riske (left) loved u like brother"
"R.I.P Whit Riske (left) loved u like brother"
@PatCrane818 via Twitter

Did you know Whit? Any idea what could have led to his sudden death on Sunday? Please share below.

[@simone_electra/swilson@laweekly.com]