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EXCLUSIVE: Family, First Responders Speak Out After Runner Survives Coronary At Marathon

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – He was only 150 yards away from finishing the Pittsburgh Marathon.

That's when 25-year-old Jeffery Whitmore suddenly suffered a major coronary.

He's alive today thanks to the quick work of nearby doctors and medics.

KDKA exclusively talked to Whitmore's family and the people who saved his life.

It was a glorious, sunny day with Elite Runners coasting down the Boulevard of the Allies to the finish line when suddenly one stumbled and fell.

"So when I got there, unfortunately, he was not breathing and did not have a pulse," said Dr. Ronald Roth with UPMC.

Marathon Medical Director Dr. Ronald Roth administered cardio pulmonary resuscitation.

And as the bib of the runner shirt identified him as 25-year-old Jeffery Whitmore, words of his fall went out to his parents in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

"On my 60th birthday I hear my son had a cardiac arrest and I didn't know if he would be alive or dead when my wife and I and his girlfriend got on the plane," said Scott Whitmore, Jeffery's father.

While things were looking grim back in Pittsburgh, EMTs quickly arrived on the scene with a defibrillator and shocked Whitmore's heart back to life.

"And his pulse and blood pressure came back right away," said Roth. "So, we knew that this was a good sign, at least a hopeful sign that he would do well."

Miraculously Jeffrey Whitmore survived. He was discharged Sunday and paid a special visit to the marathon offices to thank the staff and medical team for saving his life. Still processing the events, he left the speaking to his dad Scott.

"I feel like the Academy Awards, where you keep listing person after person, but certainly the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the paramedics, the EMTs," said Scott.

Some scarring on Whitmore's heart required the implant of a small defibrillator device. And while marathons are out of the question, at least for a while, he's eager to return to some vigorous hiking.

And for the 100-plus member medical team who train just like the marathoner themselves for such an eventuality, this is one to put in the win column.

"All that planning," said Pittsburgh EMS Chief Mark Bocian, "this is where it pays off. You get that one event that someone goes down and within moments people are there to help him out. That's what it's about."

And that is what it's all about for the marathon staff, the paramedics and UPMC medical – but especially Jeff Whitmore who gets another chance at life because of the remarkable efforts of a team.

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