Utah Man Revived At Finish Line After Heart Attack

Carl Gallegos smiled for a photo during the American Fork Canyon Half Marathon before suffering a heart attack at the finish. Photo: Zazoosh.com, Zazoosh Media Inc.

Carl Gallegos, 57, finished a half-marathon in 1:56 before collapsing when his heart stopped.

One runner in Utah has a finish-line volunteer to thank for saving his life.

Carl Gallegos recently participated in the American Fork Canyon Half Marathon but two blocks from the finish line, he started to feel faint. After stopping and then walking, he wanted to run through the finish line so that’s what he did.

Gallegos clocked in at 1:56, received his finisher medal and a bottle of water, and then collapsed.

His heart had stopped. He wasn’t breathing. The 57-year-old, who runs 10 miles every Saturday, had suffered a heart attack.

Race volunteer Lori Bertelsen, a nurse at American Fork Hospital, was nearby when someone shouted for help. She rushed over and quickly assessed the situation. After realizing Gallegos’s heart and breathing had stopped, she performed CPR while another runner, who was also a anesthesiologist, assisted.

The quick action essentially brought Gallegos back to life. When he got to the hospital minutes later, he was further stabilized and went through a battery of tests, which revealed three blockages in his heart. He underwent surgery a few days later and is now recovering at the hospital.

Gallegos faces a six-month layoff from running, but he vowed to return to next year’s race.

“I hope I get to run again,” he told KSL.com. “That’s what I want to do. I want to run this again next year and will cross the finish line and say I didn’t faint.”

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