PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — 26-year-old Jeff Whitmore is the last person you would expect to see at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center picking up his race package to run in the Pittsburgh Half Marathon.
He’s ready to compete, one year after he collapsed in cardiac arrest at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon.
“Heart stopped, breathing stopped, pulse stopped, I was basically dead for a few moments,” he said.
Paramedics managed to bring Jeff back and he woke up three days later.
Jeff said he had no pre-existing conditions, so it is difficult to explain what would cause a man so young to suffer cardiac arrest.
“Best explanation I think right now is the combination of dehydration, bad luck, low electrolyte count and a hot day,” he said.
Since then, his cardiologist has given him permission to run again. Last year, Jeff collapsed about a hundred yards from the finish line. He’s only running in the 13.1 mile Half Marathon this year.
He’s not trying to win or break any records, but he said it is important to him to finish it.
“I wanted to continue running and also kind of come finish some unfinished business in a way, cross the finish line this year, enjoy a post-race beer,” he said.
Obviously Jeff feels extremely blessed and fortunate. Doctors have put an implantable cardioverter defibrillator in his chest, just in case.
Jeff Whitemore made it clear he’s running in the Dicks Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon for more than personal reasons. Already he’s close to $4,000 for the American Heart Association.