Woman who survived cardiac arrest at Boston Marathon returns for first time
Meghan Roth was just 34 years old when she went to the starting line of the Boston Marathon in 2021. As an accomplished marathoner who ran in an Olympic marathon qualifying race in 2020, she was near peak physical condition despite giving birth to her first child less than a year earlier. So what happened just over seven miles into the race was a shock.
“Basically blacked out,” Roth says. “Don’t even remember hitting the pavement and collapsed at mile 7.4 in cardiac arrest, which I found out when I woke up in the ambulance. So yeah, very scary.”
To this day, doctors still don’t know precisely what caused the cardiac arrest. They haven’t found an underlying heart issue and there is no history of heart disease in her family.
Her life was saved by several fellow runners, some of them first responders, who kept her alive until on-duty medical professionals showed up. One of them was Nick Haney, a fellow marathon runner and firefighter/paramedic in Oregon
“Pretty cool seeing people from all walks of life coming together when somebody really needs help,” he told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS in 2021. “Desperately needs help.”
“They gave the perfect amount of support to keep me alive and revived, alive and thriving,” Roth says. “So yeah, very fortunate.”
Although she had hoped to run in the Boston Marathon this year, she’s going to take more time before taking on the 26.2-mile distance. She’s been back to running strong for more than a year but is focusing a lot of her time with her young son and on starting a new nonprofit she calls “Run with Me.” It’s aimed at raising awareness of the importance of knowing CPR in the running community and beyond.
“It’s easy to learn,” Roth says. “It’s extremely effective for any cardiac emergency life-saving situation. Just imagine if you’re at work or home with family and someone you care about or just a complete stranger goes down in an emergency situation and just being able to provide CPR and give them a fighting chance.”
Roth is featured in a Boston Marathon video this year about the importance of knowing CPR and she will appear at the race expo talking to fellow runners.
“Just being out there will bring back quite a bit of just the memory of the incident,” she says, adding it will also help with her mental and physical healing process.
It will also remind her of how lucky she is to be back with her son, Jax.
“I’m so happy. I love him so much,” Roth says. “It’s been so great being home with my son and our normal day-to-day. He’s just the biggest joy in my life. I love him so much. I can’t imagine my life any other way. I’m just so blessed.”