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Montreal Marathon: 2 runners suffer cardiac arrest at finish line

Two participants in Sunday's half-marathon in Montreal suffered cardiorespiratory arrest at the finish line, event organizers confirmed.

The pair were treated by the race's medical team, who resuscitated the runners.

"Once their condition was stabilized and under control, they left the clinic and were transported to a regional hospital where they are being monitored," a Marathon Beneva de Montréal spokesperson confirmed to CTV News.

They are now "doing well."

Cardiorespiratory arrest, or cardiopulmonary arrest, occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating, halting oxygen delivery to the organs.

"The team we hired is very experienced," said Alex Ratthe, executive producer for the event. "We are nervous, they are not, so that's a good sign."

He told CTV News medical emergencies are rare in marathons, but not unheard of -- adding about one out of 80,000 runners will suffer a cardiac arrest during a marathon.   

"Compared with the risk of running one marathon, the annual risk of premature death is estimated to be 120 times higher during general living," reads a 2010 study on cardiac arrests during marathons by the U.S. National Institute of Health.


Sunday's event marks the 30th anniversary of the Montreal Marathon. About 12,000 participants laced up for the event. 

Kenyan runner Felix Rob was the first across the finish line, completing the 42.2 kilometre course in just two hours and 23 minutes. 

"The course was amazing," he said. "It's my first time here in Montreal. I feel so happy."

Just a few seconds behind him was Quebecer Simon Leblanc. It was an emotional moment for the 32 year old, who undertook the run (his second marathon ever) with thoughts of loved ones in tow.   

"I had a rough time at around the 27th, 28th, kilometre," he said. "But I lost my grandfather last week, so I just asked him to help me out. On the 32nd kilometre, I just felt my legs coming back, and I took the shot for second place."

Monicah Cheruto, also from Kenya, took first place in the Womens' Marathon. 

"I like Montreal," she told CTV News. "Maybe I will come back again next year."

-- Published with files from CTV's Matt Gilmour Top Stories

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