A memorial service was held Thursday for a Calgary runner who died shortly after finishing a race in Banff.

Richard Black, 41, collapsed on Saturday just metres after the finish line of the annual Melissa's Road Race, which has both 10- and 22-kilometre distances. He died later in hospital. Black's exact cause of death has not yet been determined.

Black, an accountant, was expecting his third child with his wife, Denise, according to a newspaper obituary.

The service was held at McInnis & Holloway's Chapel of the Bells in north Calgary. In lieu of flowers, his family is asking that tributes be made to a trust fund set up for Black's children in care of his firm, Lo Porter Hetu. A tree will also be planted in Black's memory at Fish Creek Provincial Park.

'As long as you do not feel well, you should not go for really ambitious athletic goals.' —Dr. Matthias Friedrich

In June, Dale Masson, 36, a Calgary lawyer and former junior hockey player, died of what's suspected to have been a heart attack during the Kananaskis 100 Mile Relay Race.

Dr. Matthias Friedrich, an associate professor of cardiac sciences at the University of Calgary, said a number of factors can lead to the sudden deaths of otherwise healthy people, including lingering effects of colds or flus causing heart damage.

"Inflammation of the heart occurs after a flu or diarrhea, and during that time, subjects may be at higher risk than usual," he said.

Friedrich, who has studied sudden death in both athletes and non-athletes, said runners should pay attention to warning signs.

"Typically you would notice by chest discomfort, palpitations, unusual fatigue, not getting fit after a cold. So basically as long as you do not feel well, you should not go for really ambitious athletic goals."

He advised athletes take a respite of at least two to four weeks following an illness before attempting anything strenuous.