Marathon man fine after brush with death
The race president credits defibrillators for reviving the stricken finisher
Japanese visitor Koji Takano remembers crossing the Honolulu Marathon finish line Sunday. The next thing he remembers was waking up in the medical tent.
Marathon officials said Takano, 39, collapsed at the finish line and, for about 60 to 90 seconds, displayed no vital signs.
"He was not breathing, his heart was not beating," said Jim Barahal, Honolulu Marathon Association president. "So he was essentially dead unless somebody brought him back, which fortunately our medical team was able to do."
The medical team used one of nine new automated external defibrillators purchased just two weeks ago to revive Takano. The one the staff used was a portable AED kept at the finish line.
Last year marathon officials had just one AED and it was in the medical tent away from the finish line. Barahal said he believes having the new AEDs, especially the one at the finish line, enabled the medical staff to revive Takano at least a couple of minutes faster than they would have been able to last year. And saving minutes is critical when saving someone's life.
"I think we were dealing in maybe a four-minute window there," he said.
After Takano was revived, he went to Straub Hospital for observation. He was released yesterday evening.
Barahal went to Straub to congratulate Takano for finishing and to present him his finisher's medal and other memorabilia including a hat, bag, shirts and a commemorative watch.
Through translators, Takano said he needs to check with his personal doctor but intends to return next year. He said he has a history of asthma but not other health problems.
Takano said he has run 15 marathons since 1996, eight of them in Honolulu. The last time he ran the Honolulu Marathon was 2002.
He said he trained harder this year than in previous years and was on pace to beat his personal record of 3 hours and 47 minutes. Then at 30 kilometers, he said, his body started feeling funny so he slowed his pace.
He finished in 3 hours and 56 minutes.
Takano said the experience was scary but it makes him aware of his body and his health.
Barahal said he believes he made a good decision to buy the nine AEDs, putting seven on the course, one at the finish line and one in the medical tent, because collapses like Takano's do occasionally happen.
In 2002, Grant Hirohata-Goto collapsed at the finish line and died. His wife said her husband's family had a history of high blood pressure.