08 June 2014

The Heartbreak is over: runner down

Dawn arrived at just past 0500 and the morning of race day rituals commenced - coffee on, race uni on, number pinned on, adidas slides, headband, sunscreen slathered on my face, then a bagel and a banana consumed in ready fashion. It appeared all was as it should be. We arrived at Boston College with almost an hour to spare, plenty of time to change my shoes, take a few pre-race pics and warm up. It was cloudless and the temperature was rapidly climbing, but it was still comfortable in the shade. A good day to race.

 

I met a fellow runner, Rick, in the corral who was planning on running a similar pace and we chatted through the first four miles, which was a brisk sub-8:00 pace thanks to the downhill that started the race. I eased off a bit after that and Rick jaunted away. I kept a steady pace through the rolling hills and at the five mile mark, we turned off Commonwealth Ave and onto a long, steady climb, the first of several as we circumnavigated the Newton Country Club. I stretched it out a bit between six and nine, and lo, and 9.5 miles in, I re-encountered Rick and we continued on course for a sub-1:50. 

The reunion was short-lived, however, for just after 9.75, a runner wobbled off the course and collapsed. A Runner's World assistant editor (who happened to be running) got there first along with a fellow runner, who helped him sit up and were trying to talk to him but he wasn't coherent. I stopped immediately and called 9-1-1 on my cell phone. He appeared to have severe heat exhaustion and after about a minute, he fainted and became unresponsive. His name - printed on his bib - David. We laid him down, lifted his legs and I started calling to fellow runners who had water to bring it over to cool him down, while getting our location and his vitals to the emergency operator on the phone, who assured me the paramedics were on their way. A road marshal appeared on a bike, I briefed him and he rushed off to notify the Newton PD, who appeared quickly and took over comms. 

David was still unresponsive, his pupils were pinpoint, his heart rate wouldn't come down, hovering between 140-150 and he was pale and sweating. Three runners, all retired Air Force and part of the Road Warriors organization, stopped, and among them was a doctor, who immediately assisted. The fire department arrived with cold compresses and oxygen, which David's instinctive reactions caused him to fight, but we were able to restrain him and get the O2 on, as a reading showed his O2 level at around 86%. The FD had no IV though, so we just held tight and I stayed at David's head, holding his hand and talking with him, letting him know he was being taken care of and help was on the way. The paramedics arrived and asked multiple questions of us as they attended to David and once they brought over their full complement of medical gear, we backed away and let them take over. 

The course marshal thanked us for our help and I turned to the Road Warrior crew and said, I guess we go finish now, yeah? Which we did - running together for the last three and change miles - I even got a pic of them as they crested Heartbreak Hill. My finish time of 2:07 is irrelevant; I and the Road Warriors were at the right place at the right time for someone who needed help. As of this post, I don't know David's status, I am still trying to find out. 




 


I found Rick at the race festival lawn! 

4 comments:

  1. I loved reading how you stopped to help without any thought to your own time, this is why running is such a great community!

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    1. Agreed, and once it was apparent he needed serious help, many others asked what they could do as well.....

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  2. Similarly, many runners stopped for me on Sat, w no concern for themselves or their times, and helped tend to me until the EMTs arrived I wish I knew their names and could thank them. I loved how running has enriched my life w such wonderful people INCLUDING YOU!!! XOXO

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    1. I sent you an email....girl, let me know how you are!

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