Runner to finish Monument Ave. 10K despite cardiac arrest – and set a record!

Bill Hughes (in orange) on April 9, 2016 at the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k. (PHOTO CREDIT: Sports Backers)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Not even a cardiac arrest can stop one Northern Virginia runner from finishing the renowned Richmond Monument Avenue 10K race.

Yes, that’s right. This Sunday afternoon, Bill Hughes will finish the 10K in a record time of 50 days and seven hours; a record not for speed on the course, but for the recovery time from the cardiac arrest he suffered during the race.

When Hughes’ heart suddenly stopped on the course around 9:45 a.m. that morning, several bystanders sprung into action.

Together they started the Chain of Survival – a sequence of life-saving interventions occur in rapid succession providing a good chance of a great outcome – that is credited for saving Hughes’ life.

Some called 911. Others performed CPR. On-course medical crews quickly prepped the defibrillator and administered shocks to the unresponsive runner.

First responders, including personnel from Richmond’s police and fire departments, also arrived to the scene to support rescue efforts.

When the Richmond Ambulance Authority arrived, emergency medical crews continued the chain providing Advanced Life Support (ALS) and speedy transportation to St Mary’s Hospital, four minutes away.

After cardiac surgery, Hughes lives to tell his story and finish the race. In fact, thanks to VCU Police and Sports Backers, he will cross the original finish be presented a medal for his record-setting time.

He plans to reunite with the many people from his Chain of Survival at the Richmond Ambulance Authority’s headquarters before finishing the race with his family and rescuers and accepting his winner’s medal.

The reunion takes place several days before the start of National CPR and AED Awareness Week, where everyone is encouraged to learn the simple two-step process that can save a life: Call 911 and push ‘Hard and Fast’ until help arrives.

For Hughes, the process combined with the Chain of Survival was the difference between life and death.

And the more people who know about it – the more people could be saved down the road.

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