RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Matt Howell spent months preparing for the Monument Avenue 10k, but on Saturday, another type of training kicked into gear: the skills he uses every day as a firefighter and paramedic.
Howell says the atmosphere at the starting line had him amped up, and he set out with a goal in mind. He wanted to finish the race in under an hour. "I had worked on my pace a little bit on my other runs to get about 10-minute miles."
Despite the wind and cold weather, Howell says the race was going great until he reached mile marker three. That's when he noticed a fellow runner had collapsed.
"He was unconscious, unresponsive. He was not breathing, didn't have a pulse," Howell said. "I figured you know, I have a little medical training. I should be able to help out."
For the past 10 years, Matt has been working as a firefighter and paramedic, most recently in Hanover County. On Saturday, he instantly went from athlete to an EMT. "It all becomes second nature. Once you have that training I just knew what to do," said Howell.
Howell said several other runners were trying to help the man and had already started CPR. Howell took over, and was able to get a defibrillator.
"We shocked him one time," said Howell. "I kind of helped direct the other folks to start CPR again and after two minutes of CPR he started breathing on his own and he had a good strong pulse."
At that point, Howell said an ambulance arrived to take the runner to the hospital. Howell insists saving the man's life was a team effort, and he hopes that now more people will be inspired to learn CPR.
"This wasn't something I did by myself. This was something that a lot of other people helped," Howell said. "If everyone who did the Monument 10k learned CPR before doing it, that's a lot of people in Richmond in the community that would be life savers."
After the entire ordeal, Howell went on the finish the race. He didn't quite reach his goal on finishing in under an hour, instead clocking in at one hour and two minutes. He said he definitely plans to run again next year.
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