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Published: Tuesday, 5/28/2013

Ohio man who collapsed at marathon thankful

Ohio man who went into cardiac arrest, collapsed at marathon thankful to be alive


AKRON — A Canton man who went into cardiac arrest during a half-marathon last weekend in Cleveland wants to find and thank the emergency workers who saved his life.

Richard Strain said that he felt what he thought was heartburn about a mile into Cleveland’s half-marathon last Sunday. He made it five miles more before the pain became so severe that he was forced to start walking.

Mr. Strain, 45, doesn’t remember much after that.

He woke up in a hospital emergency room coughing up blood, gasping for air, and surrounded by doctors and nurses.

He said he has no memory of the emergency workers on the race course who shocked him with an automated external defibrillator and probably saved his life.

Mr. Strain had to be shocked again once he arrived at the hospital.

Mr. Strain said he’s thankful to be alive and hopes to run again when he’s healthy again.

Not everyone who went through what he did survives. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine last year found that of the 59 long-distance runners who experienced cardiac arrest between 2000 and 2010, only 17 survived.

Mr. Strain’s doctor, Sanjay Gandhi, attributed his survival to the quick actions of the emergency workers at the race.

He said Mr. Strain had 100 percent blockage in one of his arteries.

“It was inevitable,” Mr. Strain said. “It was a matter of when, not if.”

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