It all started like this…
I had an ear operation this winter (had my ear drum replaced, it’s all fine now), so after LOST Swimming ended last summer, I decided to make it a “running winter”, instead of a “swimming winter” this year.
My son, Dylan, and I were supposed to do the Marine Corps Marathon, his first marathon, last fall… but a very sore Achilles kept him out, so I ran what turned out to be a very miserable race by myself… 3:59. Yuck.
Next on the schedule, Joanne and I were planning on doing the Bahamas Marathon in January for our 25th wedding anniversary! (which was a fun and special race… and a bit more respectable time for me of 3:42… see previous post).
But before we got to the Bahamas, Joanne was going to do the Hamilton Half Marathon the weekend after I did Marine Corps Marathon, as a training run, so still being a mess from my crappy race the week earlier I decided to just cheer her in.
Glad I did. Because it was a pretty amazing story.
Now if you’ve heard this one before, or been on a long run with me this winter (Hugh, Al, etc), feel free to skip ahead! I’ll give you the shorter version (or check out the post from Marine Corps Marathon last fall!).
So I found a nice quiet spot with not too many spectators, a few hundred yards up from the finish line at the Hamilton Marathon, cheering runners in and waiting for Joanne to come by to cheer her in. And a runner stumbles and falls in front of me. I ran over to see if he was okay. He was pretty out of it, lying face down on the pavement. Eyes all glossed over and breathing heavily. I was talking to him to see if he was still with it. He wasn’t. And then his breathing stopped. And then his heart stopped.
Another woman came along to help. I yelled down the course for someone to get an ambulance. She and I started doing CPR. Several other knowledgeable people stopped and helped. Someone brought the AED over and we shocked him. Nothing. We kept doing CPR. We shocked him again. Still nothing. We continued doing CPR. We shocked him a third time. Still nothing. Then, 15 minutes into it… we got a pulse! The Ambulance instantly scooped him up and took him away. I was left standing there, after a very surreal and intense 15 minutes. I wandered over and found Joanne, Brett and Al and told them what happened. And although it shook me up a bit, I pretty much figured it was over.
But it wasn’t.
I wrote a blog post here about my experience. Somebody also told me there was a short article about “man collapses in Hamilton Marathon” on the CBC.ca. A few people that were there and helped do CPR spoke up in the comments section… and the man’s wife even commented that he was still alive! I didn’t say anything, but was just happy to know he had made it. I thought that was the end of the story again.
But it wasn’t.
About a month or so later… I got an email from Ted! The guy who had died for 15 minutes and was now back in the game and recovering! We exchanged several emails and I learned that he and I had a lot in common. He was a very good runner, done several Boston’s, had just come back from doing one of those cycling tours where you do a section of the Tour de France and he even bikes with his group to the Starbucks in Oakville every Saturday! And he seemed like a really nice guy. Very cool to speak with him and know that he was recovering well. I thought that was the end of the story again.
But it wasn’t.
About another month or so after that… I got another email from his brother Don! He tells me how grateful he was that I had helped save his brother and that he was truly glad that his brother was still alive. They both seemed like genuinely nice guys.
And then Don said that in appreciation for what I had done to help save Ted’s life he would like to do something special for me… and my family. He wanted to personally pay for a trip for us to Boston for the Marathon this spring! Airfare and hotel and VIP seats in the grandstands at the finish line! The whole nine yards! AND… apparently he knows a bit about how important the Boston Marathon is to runners, having had a brother run it… so he was also going to get me into the BOSTON MARATHON!
What else could I say but: okay. And thanks!
So that all was good and fine, but it still seemed weird that he could just “get me in”, I mean the Boston Marathon isn’t exactly easy to get into… as it turns out… he is a top executive of the lead sponsor of the race!!! (I never know whether one should use names or companies in a story like this… he deserves all kinds of personal thanks and recognition for doing such a generous thing… but I’ll just leave it at that).
Again, the story isn’t over yet… one more chapter left… the actual running of the race!
But before I even get to Boston this year, and on top of all the events from last year that will make this year a very memorable race… this will be a very special race… for me and my family… and for Ted and his family.