RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Monument Avenue 10K in Virginia could have been tragic for one runner who had a heart attack and collapsed during the race.
Luckily for the runner, about 50 feet behind him was firefighter Matt Howell.
“I was close enough, and I have medical training through my job, I figured at least I could help,” Howell told WRIC.
Howell was running his first 10K on Saturday and was hoping to get a qualifying time. But during his third mile, he saw a runner go down.
“When I arrived on scene he was unconscious, unresponsive, not breathing without a pulse,” Howell recalled.
About 10 other people also quickly came over to help with the rescue efforts.
“The thing that really saved his life was not the individual efforts of one person,” said Howell. “It was everybody’s combined effort.”
After meeting the man who he helped save, Howell says this entire experience has been humbling.
“Not only a part of my job is helping people but I feel like that’s who I am,” said Howell. “To be able to do that outside of work is a huge thing to me.”
He says he’s not used to all this attention, but that if one person sees this story, and learns CPR because of it, then it makes it all worth it.
“If every single one of those people were CPR certified imagine the difference that everyone would have the opportunity to make just in Richmond [Virginia] alone,” he said.
After the ambulance showed up on Saturday, Howell went on to finish the race, missing the one hour qualifying time by just two minutes.
He says he doesn’t care that he missed his goal, and he will be definitely run the race again next year.