It was time to be on the other side of the shore. Volunteers can make or break any event and so it is in running. No runner can cross the finish line without the help of the volunteers. It was my time to return the favor even and I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Nashville Women's Half Marathon.
Saturday, Sep 25, I volunteered to be the Course Monitor for the Women's Half Marathon. It was my first volunteering experience and it really felt great to be out there supporting 6000 odd women runners, and some men, doing little something to help them achieve their goal. Women from all background and age group were out there trying to accomplish their goal and for some of them, their Dream. I was lucky that I got posted yards away from the finish line. It was amazing to see some of the runner push through their maximum limits with everything they got. Some sprinted through and some just one feet in front of another to the finish line. I was enjoying the scene and ringing the tiny little cow bell to motivate them to cross the finish line.
That's when a lady, in her 50's collapsed right before me, just a few yards before the finish line. A knowledgeable person was doing CPR while a few other volunteers and I assisted the person. There was no sign of breathing. She just let out a little gasp occasionally which gave me the hope that she will be just fine. I was expecting to see her get on her feet, she never did but just let out a faint breath every now and then. The ambulance arrived in no time and they were doing something with the defibrillator. A runner who was related to the lady was weeping bitterly and we tried to console her. While the cops regulated the traffic and the runners safe to the finish line, the ambulance took off to the hospital. No one knew anything about the runner. I inquired about this to the race director and he mentioned that she has been admitted at the Vanderbilt.
Sunday morning I tried googling for some news about the incident but there was nothing. I tried on Monday morning and that's when I read on Tennessean.com that she passed way on Sun morning due to Cardiac arrest. It was shocking and saddening. My prayers and deepest condolence to her family and friends for their loss.
Lynn has run several marathons, was in great condition and had no known health problems. Reminded me of several other incidents in the past where runners collapsed at the finish line and didn't make it back. I just wonder why. This cannot happen to runners. They are fit and in great shape. Runners shouldn't suffer heart attack or can they!! It certainly shows how frail a human life life is no matter hot fit and fine you are. This incident really moved me but would it stop me from running, NO! Would it stop other runners who witnessed this event from running, NO again. It's crucial though that one must listen to their body. Lesson learnt, there's a fine line between pushing your limits and knowing when to stop. This applies not only to running but every aspect of life. Be it stressful work situation, family problems and stuff. What matters is whether it's truly worth pushing your limits.
All said and done, doing what you love the most matters, no matter what.