Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Boston marathoner makes scary pit stop

Mischell Christmas was not having a good Boston Marathon on Monday.

"I was dying," says the 46-year-old plastic surgery nurse, a Charlotte resident who qualified at at the 2008 Philadelphia Marathon with a 3:56:50. "I had diarrhea like the entire time. It was awful. I was so exhausted. In fact, at Mile 16 I texted my husband and I said, 'If I see a cab anywhere, I'm getting in it and I'm coming home and going to the closest bar that I can go to.' But once we got through Boston College and after Heartbreak Hill, I'm like, 'Oh screw it, I can make it...' "

Then, late in the race, she ran into an older man who was having a worse Boston Marathon than she was.

"I notice this one person kind of not looking so good, like weaving back and forth, like I thought this guy's gonna hit the pavement in a minute," recalls Christmas, who also was running the Chicago Marathon in 2007 when it was canceled because of the heat. "So he [collapsed], and I think I was the first bystander there ... and rolled him on his side, 'cause I couldn't tell if he was having a seizure. He looked BAD. If he came into the ER, I would've put a tube in him and started an IV. Blue lips, not responding, just really, really precarious.

"I did not start CPR. ... I just made sure that he had an airway. He was breathing, he was unresponsive ... [I] felt for a pulse, could barely feel one, and by the time that I asked one of the bystanders to call 911, there was an emergency medical team on the scene. ... I thought, OK, well, these guys have it, you know, so I'm gonna go limp my way to the finish line."

And the next day, she read this story in the Boston Globe.

"I was so happy ... 'cause I thought he was gonna be dead at the scene, I really did."

Neither Mischell nor I have been able to confirm that this was the same man (all I can tell you is I called Boston EMS and they recorded only one cardiac arrest related to the race Monday). But I do know that there were no runner fatalities at the 2010 Boston Marathon.

So big, big kudos to Mischell Christmas for gutting out a tough race -- she finished in 4:29:12 -- and for, quite possibly, helping to save a man's life.