The Huntington Beach Marathon and half Marathon nearly experienced a tragedy in February. A runner was stricken with a heart attack short of the finish line and was clinically dead. An alert runner noticed the man even as other runners cruised by him and helped. Emergency personnel revived him but not before someone carried his shoe with tracking device over the finish line.
We’ll let the Register’s coverage of the incident tell the full story:
“Bob Mello was already running out of breath, but then his training for the Surf City Half Marathon hadn’t been going well for weeks. He had been dragging. Hell, he had been walking. So alarm bells weren’t exactly going off.
He tried walking now. But with everyone running past, he felt embarrassed and started running again.
This was his second half marathon, but it seemed to be moving awfully slow this time. His wife Christina already blew by him. And now his two kids were passing him up, and they didn’t even run until a few months back.
To focus, he began counting backward from 1,000. Every time he got to 1, he started over. And 13.1 miles and two hours and 23 minutes later, there it was, (cue the hallelujah chorus): “My god the finish line!” he remembers thinking.
Hundreds of cheering spectators crowded the sidelines. “You can do it! You can do it!” he heard them chant.
No, actually, he couldn’t.
With 100 yards to go, it was lights out for Bob.
Kim is an emergency room nurse at Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose.
“But when you go to work you have your mental armor on. You have your tools. You have backup.”
She cut across the stampede of runners. Someone kneeling by the man guessed he was having an epileptic seizure. Just by eyeballing him, Kim had a pretty good idea this wasn’t an epileptic seizure. It was a limp twitch, the sort of seizure you get when your heart stops.
Now she could see that he wasn’t breathing. And his skin was blue. She checked his pulse. Nothing. She pulled a sneaker off her foot and asked someone in the crowd to run it across the finish line. Then she went in for the lip lock.
Mouth to mouth. Chest compressions. Mouth to mouth. Chest compressions.
She was running out of gas.
“It was unbelievable. People were just flying by.”
Finally a man ran over and told her he knew CPR.
He took over the chest compressions while she continued mouth to mouth. Then the paramedics were there with a defibrillator. Shock. Bob began to breathe.”
Bob’s time in the event: 2:42:16.
Now Santa Ana Planning Commissioner is in training for Half Marathons and competed in the event. Sean’s time was posted online. He finished 11,215 from a field of 13.300 runners and came in at 4500 in the category of male runners from a field of 4,915. For his age group of 40-44, Sean was 682 of 715 runners and his time was 2:55:39 for a half Marathon making his pace an average of 13:24 a mile. His first three miles were at 12:31 a mile. Accoridng to Wikipedia, the average walking speed is about 3.1 miles per hour.
Now we’re all pleased Bob is recovering to run another day. But what this means is: A dead man beat Sean Mill in a running race.
And yes. It is April Fool’s Day. But this is a true story.
There’s one group of slow runners we know Sean can beat. Zombies.