When Ken Morris rang at 1 p.m. Last Sunday, coming down to the medical tent at the site of the Ironman 70.3 event in Mont-Tremblant, in Quebec's Laurentians, he was not worried.
He had tracked his wife, Jill Levy Morris, 46, on his cell phone, and he knew she had passed the last round of the race's 90-kilometer bicycle section sometime before.
At that time, the Florida triathlete was three hours and 45 minutes on her ride – half an hour before what she had expected to be, with only nine kilometers to go before she would start running.
He assumed she had had a minor accident.
"I thought she probably had some scratches or bruises or something," he said. "When I got there, I was met by two women – and not Jill. That's when I knew something was going on."
The women told him he could not see his wife yet and made him sit down until two men arrived, about half an hour later, to crush it for his wife to be dead.
"Of course I went nuts," he said.
A "medical event"
"They said it was a medical event," Morris told an interview with CBC News. "It's something that bothers you because it's very vague and cryptic."
He said the competition officials made it locked like Jill might have suffered a heart attack or any other wreath-related incident on the course. It was days later that he learned that her death involved a collision with a service vehicle on the track.
"They told me they thought that was what it was," he told the race officials that death was a medical event. "I don't know today if they treated her for it or treated her for trauma – or what."
In fact, "a medical event" is how Ironman 70.3 organizers described Jill's death in a short post to his Facebook group at 6 Sunday, a couple of hours after the end of the competition.
"As for the family's integrity, we will have no further comment," reads the post.
Event authorities are stuck in that position: Ironman's PR arm at the World Triathlon Corporation headquarters in Tampa Bay, Fla., Referred all questions to "local authorities".
In a short phone call with CBC News Friday, Mont-Tremblants competition director Dominique Piché said he couldn't say anything more while the triathlete's death is under investigation.
Disappeared by racing vehicles
Ken talked to officials shortly after his wife's death, Ken was left to understand that Jill had some form of illness as she climbed on Duplessis Road, nearly 87.5 kilometers on the cycle track, where she had encountered two racing vehicles parked on the shoulder.
Somehow, she had swung into the path to one of the vehicles that it had pulled out on the road, and the vehicle could not fail to run her over.
According to the Witnesses told the Mont-Tremblant police, the triathlete had been pale and sick.
"She waits completely from her way and ran into a support car that collected road signs and moved at very low speed," police spokesman Éric Cadotte told the Journal de Montreal Tuesday. The driver would not get any consequences, police said.
Coroner regulates heart problems
It wasn't until Wednesday, three days after the deadly event, that her husband got a call from the Quebec denier and learned what had killed his wife.
"The official cause of death was chest compression, with several of her inner organs crushed under the influence," he told friends and family on social media. "There was absolutely no evidence of lung or heart related problems that caused Jill's death."
Ken does not buy a theory that circulates on social media that his wife may have been dehydrated or suffering from any other illness caused by overwork.
Race day had been sunny but not excessively hot – about 26 ° C.
"She's been doing Ironman's and Half Ironman's for a long time," he said – and other races, including an 80-mile endurance in January. "She knows exactly how to hydrate her body accordingly.
Before leaving Mont-Tremblant, Ken visited the exact location where his wife had been killed.
"I saw that hill," Morris said. "I wouldn't say it's steep. It's probably an average hill compared to the rest of the course."
"Is it possible that she did some type of serpentine movement to try to go up the hill? I guess," he ventured. "But the thing that kills me is, if that's what this driver saw … he had plenty of time to see her."
"Why that vehicle moved with my wife approaching him is completely ignorant."
You cannot have service vehicles driving on roads when bicycles come through in both directions. You just can't.– Ken Morris, husband of triathlete Jill Levy Morris
Duplessis Road was closed to all traffic, except for race support vehicles, at the time of Jill's death.
Ken's tone is measured, but he is incensed by contestant officials to allow cleaning crews on the track while there were still many cyclists on the road.
"You can't have service vehicles driving on roads when bikes come through in either direction. You just can't," he said.
"This is a closed area there [race organizers] is responsible for the situation, and cyclists and swimmers and runners must be 100 percent safe. They shouldn't have to worry about where they go, when they go, how they go, because they have other things to focus on instead of, "Maybe I can just lose my life if I make the wrong move. & # 39; "
"Incredible, goal oriented person"
Jill Levy Morris, a physiotherapist-scientific computer science specialist, was the mother of two boys – Benjamin, 13, and Zachary, who turned 17 two days after his mother died.
The social media of her friends and co-workers and triathletes are full of photographs of a radiant vital woman and anecdotes about how she inspired, helped, and encouraged her friends.
"The exhaustion of love has been overwhelming," said her friend and other athletes, Kimberly Cooper. "She was part of so many communities in southern Florida alone."
"As a physiotherapist, I worked with many people who couldn't and were always grateful for the ability to put one foot in front of the other," wrote Jill in 2017, in a letter to a women's running community she belonged to called Fellow Flowers.
"I try to find joy and laughter every day and especially in everyday tasks."
A rack in Ken and Jill Morris's bedroom is hung with hundreds of finisher medals she collected since she started running in 1999, from 10K races to Ironman events to five-day endurance challenges.
"She was the most committed, honest, working person I have ever met," said her husband. "She could put 10,000 things for 24 hours, and if she needed to put 20,000 things in that time, she could do that."
"She was an incredible target-oriented person."
Her funeral is today – one week to the day of her death – in Boynton Beach, Fla.
Her husband has been reluctant to talk to reporters, but he hopes by speaking publicly, an independent witness – someone other than the vehicle driver or the driver of the second racing vehicle that had been parked in place – will report on what they saw.
"It doesn't take her back, and it doesn't change the fact that these vehicles were there and they shouldn't have been, and the driver was moved and shouldn't have been," Ken said.
"I really just want to see if there is a way to cure just the last few seconds and find out how it happened."