PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh Marathon headquarters is taking shape over at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
Race organizers are readying for 38,000 runners from all over the world to converge on the city this weekend.READ MORE: Pitt Faculty Members Vote To Unionize, Forming One Of The Largest New Unions In U.S.
Being a part of the Marathon family takes a lot of heart, and keeping those hearts pumping has become the focus of intense planning and training, including spreading 27 AED units long the race route.
“It could be the difference between someone being deceased and coming back to life,” said Cathy Staviski, of Philips Healthcare.
No one knows that better than Jeff Whitmore who collapsed 150 yards from the finish line last year.
“When I got there, he wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a pulse,” said Marathon Medical Director Dr. Ronald Roth, of UPMC.
Paramedics on bicycles were there when it happened.
“They were right there on top of the scene in seconds, so it really did save his life,” said Pittsburgh Marathon CEO Patrice Matamoros.
Not only was Whitmore able to thank those who saved him, he’s coming back this year to run the Half Marathon.
Where Whitmore collapsed was crucial to his survival.READ MORE: Fallen Branch Kills Hiker At Mohican State Park In Ohio
“Our thought is – what if it’s not where medical is, or in a difficult place to reach,” said Matamoros.
So, the Marathon Medical Team has amped up the coverage, and, with UPMC has found 10 to 15 medical professionals to run the course.
“They’ll be running with a waist pack and a cell phone, and having some emergency items,” Matamoros said.
Some will start at the beginning and others at the halfway point.
“It’s varying paces, so we can cover as much as we can,” Matamoros said.
In addition to the medics on two wheels, firefighters will also be on the course.
“They will be stationed every mile after mile 20, as well as medical aid stations after mile 20,” added Matamoros.
She says after mile 20 is when most heart events occur.MORE NEWS: On A Positive Note: Man Who Suffered Massive Heart Attack Meets First Responders Who Saved His Life
“We want to know that we did everything possible if something medical should happen on race day,” she said.