Sarasota, FL (PRWEB) May 08, 2012 -- When Sarasota, FL, runner Greg Goebel crosses the finish line on May 13 at the 2012 Delaware Marathon in Wilmington, DE, he will join a group of less than 700 people to have completed a full marathon (26.2 miles) in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. What makes Goebel’s accomplishment even more noteworthy is that he may be the only one to ever accomplish the feat after suffering a sudden cardiac arrest while running a marathon.
The publisher and consultant suffered his SCA in January 2011 at the Zoom! Yah! Yah! Indoor Marathon in Northfield, MN. His life was saved only by the quick action of fellow runner, Dr. Bob Aby, and spectator, Heather Ann Holley, who both rushed to Goebel and began CPR. He was lifeflighted to Abbott Northwestern Hospital where he was placed in a medically induced coma while undergoing their cardiac Cool-It protocol to minimize brain injury.
Goebel commented, “I had no idea I had died until I woke up four days later–there was no warning, no pain–either before or after. It is all rather surreal. The ironic thing is that I ran 30 full marathons in 2010 and had just passed my annual physical less than two week prior to it occurring.”
Upon awakening, one of his first questions he asked was if he would still be able to run. There was good news and bad news. The good news had been no heart attack, therefore no damage to the muscle. The bad news was there was no identifiable cause. Doctors therefore recommended an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) and, following surgery, cleared him to resume running about three weeks later.
After recovering from his SCA, Goebel completed his first half marathon in March 2011, then returned to the marathon circuit on May 1 in Providence, RI, completing the 1st of the 17 full marathons and 8 half marathons he has completed since his event. “Providence was a really emotional experience. I had my wife with me, who I had put through hell while I was in the coma, plus running friends from all over the country. Two ran every step of the way with me and I had my wife and a throng of runners waiting for me to cheer me in at the finish.”
When asked why he continues to run marathons after he had clinically died in one, Goebel said, “I certainly do not have a death wish. I run responsibly–I have slowed down." He quips that his name and the word “fast” had never been used in the same sentence prior to the event, but now his focus is even less so on time.
“If it were ever to occur again, my defibrillator is my insurance policy, and I am confident it will do its job. I refuse to live in fear. Do I think about it when I am running? Sure I do, nearly every step. But my doctors have cleared me; I am on no medications nor restrictions. I run according to my Polar heart rate monitor. I have set a maximum heart rate for myself that I do my best to not exceed. I always used a heart rate monitor before, but never really with a hard focus or purpose. Now, my eyes seem glued to it, as I check it at least 300 times per race.”
He went on to state, “People now often tell me I am an inspiration. At first I was rather uncomfortable and embarrassed by it, but not many people are given a second chance at life like I was. Now I hope to inspire people three ways with it. First, I am now a big CPR advocate. I feel that everyone should learn it and be confident to perform it. CPR is what saved my life. Every second counts. You sure want to be ready should the need present itself. “