Updated: October 14, 2021 06:48 PM
Created: October 14, 2021 05:52 PM
An elite marathon runner from Minneapolis survived a heart attack during Monday's 125th running of the Boston Marathon. While running a strong race, 33-year old Meghan Roth collapsed at the eight-mile mark.
Her friend and fellow Boston Marathon runner Victoria Phillippi says it was a shock given the fact that Roth might've been in the best physical shape of her life.
"I mean it's the first Boston in two-and-a-half years and she had just had a baby last year, and so this was her first marathon post-pandemic shutdown when all the races were canceled and since having her son," Phillippi told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS on Thursday. "She was really excited. She had trained extremely hard and she felt like she was in the best shape of her life going into this race."
Phillippi says Roth was about 15 minutes ahead of her on the marathon course when the heart attack happened. According to the Boston Marathon results website, Meghan was running just over six-minute miles and on pace to run a 2:42 marathon, or about two minutes faster than 2019 when she qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials at 2:44:35.
Remarkably, among several runners who approached Meghan right after she collapsed was Nick Haney, a paramedic from Portland, Oregon, who actually had met her a few times. He last saw her the night before the marathon.
"The woman was blue in the face, taking agonal respirations and I took a little closer look and I realized that I knew her," Haney said in an interview with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS from the Portland area on Thursday. "When I saw her there was already a woman who had initiated compressions and a young man that was holding her airway open and I directed him to continue keeping her airway open. I felt for a pulse."
Haney then took turns doing chest compressions on Roth, along with a doctor and an emergency room physician assistant who also stopped. They worked on her until EMTs arrived and transported her to the hospital.
"Just knowing there were so many people around at such a big event like the Boston Marathon, it's reassuring to know that people are looking out for each other and that people stopped to help her and that those efforts really did make a difference," Phillippi said.
A GoFundMe page has been started to help Roth cover medical expenses not covered by insurance. She's a single mother of a 9-month-old child who will face many other expenses during her recovery.
Haney says he's talked to Roth on the phone twice this week and is encouraged by how good she sounds.
"It's just crazy that I was able to get to follow up and get to talk to her and know that she, at the end of the day, is going to get to go home to her family and her son," he said. "And for me, that's all that matters."
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