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Runner Performs CPR During Half-Marathon

The biggest concern for Dr. Steve Lome before starting the Monterey Bay Half Marathon along the California coast was being able to keep up with his teenage kids beside him. But the cardiologist would soon face a life-or-death situation around mile three of the 13.1 mile race.

Lome said, "Somebody right in front of me collapsed. I saw him go down and it was pretty clear to me that it was not just somebody who tripped and fell or somebody who fainted. It was a very sudden collapse."

The man on the ground was 67-year-old Gregory Gonzales, a Washington state Superior Court judge. Gonzales said he felt fine even in the moments right before. He'd trained for the race and was so at ease that day, his only worry was nabbing a good parking spot. Gonzales said, "I thought to myself, 'Oh my gosh, it's downhill for a little bit, great!' That's all I remember."

Lome says Gonzales hit his head on the pavement when he fell. Lome rushed over and started CPR with the help of a few passersby. Lome said, “The biggest concern is that, having no blood flow to the brain, you can get some permanent brain injury. That's what we want to avoid at all costs.” He estimates they were doing chest compressions for maybe six minutes when Gonzales was defibrillated and taken by ambulance to the hospital.

Once the ambulance left, Lome was a little rattled but decided to continue the race. He had lost about 15 minutes and could make some of it back, even if his kids were farther ahead by now. He got on his cellphone, alternating between running and walking, just to make sure the hospital where Gonzales was headed knew what had taken place at the scene. He says that can make a difference to a patient's care. He eventually made it past the finish line and threw his hands up in the air to celebrate the accomplishment.

Lome and Gonzales are keeping in touch and plan to race together at the same half-marathon next year. Gonzales said, “There's not a day that goes by that I don't have tears of joy. Absolute joy. I'm here with a second chance at this life.”

Possible Preaching Angle:

As believers running the race of life, we are surrounded by people experiencing spiritual life-threatening issues. Do we care enough to stop what we are doing and offer life-giving help from the scriptures to them?

Editor’s Note: In the full-length version of this event, Dr. Lome actually saved two runners who suffered cardiac events. The other happened at the end of the race after Dr. Lome had crossed the finish line.

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