Monday, May 5, 2008

Heroes at the Flying Pig Marathon

The following account is taken almost entirely from information contained in an excellent front-page article in today's Cincinnati Enquirer about yesterday's Flying Pig Marathon, written by Dustin Dow (ddow@enquirer.com).

Bobby Edwards was a streaker. This is what they call marathoners in Cincinnati who have run all of the prior Flying Pig Marathons in that city. On Sunday morning, as he was approaching the tenth mile in this tenth running of the Flying Pig Marathon, Edwards was feeling good. Suddenly, without warning, the 55 year-old sub-5 hour marathoner collapsed. He lay lifeless in the road while bystanders desperately called for help. A minute ticked by.

Patrick Conrey, an EMT from Clearwater, Florida, must have been getting hot in his fireman's gear as he approached milepost 10. Cincinnati fireman Oscar Armstrong III had perished in a fire on March 21, 2003. Two Cincinnati-area firefighters, Captain Robin Broxterman and Brian Schira of Colerain Township, had similarly fallen while fighting a fire on April 4th. Conrey was running the Flying Pig Marathon in full fireman regalia in tribute to them and to raise money for charity. (Conrey was running for others at the Flying Pig Marathon.)

Some paramedics from local fire departments were running with Conrey in support of his effort. This group came across Edwards lying motionless in the roadway a minute after he went down, at about the moment that a paramedic team standing by elsewhere on the course was being dispatched to the scene. With one precious minute gone by, every second counted for the inert Edwards.

Surveying the scene as the group ran up on the prostrate Edwards, Conrey said to his comrades, "It's time to go to work, boys." The unnamed local firemen switched from runners to rescuers instantly and sprang to Edwards' aid.

CPR was started upon the unconscious Edwards. The standby paramedic unit arrived. For twenty minutes paramedics worked upon the prone runner in the roadway while marathoners streamed by.

Chest compressions were done. A tube was inserted in his mouth. He was shocked by a defibrillator three times.

Edwards was resuscitated and transported to University Hospital. He was speaking by the time he arrived. On Sunday night he was listed in stable condition.

Conrey modestly said, "I don't want to take too much credit. I was just there handing them drugs. Those paramedics running with me, they saved his life."

Edwards' daughter Stephanie Rabius said, "I could be planning a funeral right now. He had a heart attack. If they hadn't been there, my father would be dead."

Edwards asked his daughter at the hospital, "So, was I dead?"

She told him, "Yeah. You were."

Race medical director Dr. Jon Devine said the hospital cardiologist described the recovery Edwards made from his heart attack as "one of the greatest saves he's ever seen."

Conrey, a 3:22 marathoner who went on to finish the marathon in a time of 5:26:42 while carrying about 40 pounds of equipment, stated how he felt about having an unanticipated delay during his race. "You almost feel like that was the reason we were running the marathon today. It was twenty minutes well spent on the course."

There were some heroes afoot in Cincinnati this past weekend.

15 comments:

Rainmaker said...

Wow, that gave me goose bumps. It's important to never forget the folks that are there to assist and save us, everyday and everywhere.

Thanks for sharing.

akshaye said...

I came across the same story, this morning. Quite amazing!

ShirleyPerly said...

Great that the EMT & firemen running the marathon were able to assist so quickly! Look forward to hearing how your race went.

skoshi said...

That was really nice to read. Thanks for sharing a special story.

cindy said...

It's so nice to know there are people like that out there :)

Sunshine said...

What a great story!! ... important to keep re-telling.
If one is to have a heart attack ... Any better place to have a heart attack.. than surrounded by heroes?!

Congratulations on your good finish time.

Lisa - Slow & Steady said...

Thanks for sharing that story. It made my day.

Anonymous said...

That's my little brother, he's always been my hero...

peter said...

Cool, anonymous, cool. Did I mention, that was Conrey's first marathon? That he's 40? Run your first marathon, save a life. Tell your brother (and his friends) thanks from all of us runners.

Petraruns said...

What an amazing story. Thank you for sharing that. It gives me goosebumps - in a really really good way. Thank god for people sometimes..

rundangerously said...

what an amazing story! especially when we see so many reports of deaths during marathons. here we have a hero and a survivor! awesome!

Don said...

The story brought tears to my eyes. Run your first marathon, save a life indeed!

And you ran a very good marathon yourself, Peter. Sub-four hours, top 20% of your age group, top 25% of all runners. You go!

CewTwo said...

Great story. How can you not feel some emotion! Wow...

David said...

And then they were runners again after saving a life.

That's what runners do.

Anonymous said...

Peter and everyonelse, This was actually my 11th Marathon, slowest time but well worth it! EXCEPT FOR THE WEEK MY SON WAS BORN, THIS WAS THE BEST WEEK OF MY LIFE! I COULDN'T NOT HAVE WRITTEN A BETTER ENDING! PLEASE GIVE THE CREDIT TO THE PARAMEDICS THAT RAN WITH ME! THEY DID MOST OF THE WORK! I WAS NOT THE CALVERY IN THIS ONE! I JUST HAPPENED TO HAVE THE CALVERY WITH ME THAT DAY!!!" PATRICK M. CONREY/MARATHON RUNNER & FIREFIGHTER/EMT, SOMETIMES BOTH IN THE SAME DAY! STAY SAFE!
PATIO (NICKNAME ON BACK OF COAT!)