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By David Monti
(c) 2007 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
September 11, 2007

El Mustapha Nechchadi, the former Moroccan marathoner who now coaches world marathon champion Catherine Ndereba, is scheduled to have open heart surgery tomorrow.

"He is having an aortic valve transplant," wrote Ndereba's manager, Lisa Buster, in an e-mail.  She and Nechchadi were formerly married and still work together.  "This is due to something he was born with called aortic stenosis," Buster wrote.

People with aortic valve stenosis, according to the website WebMD.com, have a narrowing of the aortic valve.  "When the heart pumps, the aortic valve opens to let oxygen-rich blood flow from the left ventricle into a large blood vessel called the aorta," the website states.  "The heart has to work harder to pump blood through the smaller opening. The heart can do this for many years, but over time it gets worn out.  It can no longer send out as much blood as your body needs. If you don't get treatment, heart failure may develop."

Nechchadi, 44, set his career best time of 2:10:09 when he finished second at the London Marathon in 1987.  He has coached Ndereba to two world titles and an Olympic silver medal, and will continue to coach her while recuperating from surgery which will take place in the Philadelphia area.  According to Buster, he will be hospitalized for a week.

Those wishing to send their good wishes to Nechchadi, can send them to Buster at lbuster.pmi (put in the @ symbol) comcast.net.

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