This story originally appeared on wtvr.com
David Griffin thought he was in the best shape of his life when he began the Richmond Marathon last fall. But halfway into the 26.2-mile race, the husband and father’s life changed in an instant.
“I remember coming across past the Veil Brewery [on Forest Hill Avenue in South Richmond] and up to that stop light. But I don’t remember anything past this area,” Griffin said.
Griffin suffered cardiac arrest and dropped to the pavement.
First responders worked on him for 11 minutes to get his heart beating again. A passerby captured video of the rescue effort.
“Watching that video and seeing myself in that position was tough,” he said.
Griffin and his family returned to the spot this week where he nearly died.
There he reflected on his second chance at life.
“I needed to call and talk to some people that I hadn’t talked to in a while. I really did feel that was important,” he said about his life after the marathon.
He also wanted to show his gratitude to the people who saved his life.
The Sports Backers, who organized the Richmond Marathon, gave Griffin that opportunity by organizing the runners and first responders who helped Griffin that day.
“I’ve seen a lot and I did not think that he was going to make it,” nurse Shannon Mockett, who was running the marathon near Griffin when he collapsed and was the first to render aid, said. “He was a comrade. We were running together. We were doing the same thing at the same time. He just happened to have this unfortunate incident, and it could have been any of us.”
Griffin also met the police officers, EMS workers, and firefighters to whom he owes his life.
“It’s not easy being on the other end of telling somebody thanks for saving your life. That’s hard. But I do appreciate it. If you look at these guys [his children]. That’s the reason,” Griffin told those who gathered.
“Knowing that he had two kids and a wife,” This is amazing. This is absolutely amazing,” Mockett said.
Because he did get just beyond halfway before he collapsed, the Sports Backers gave Griffin a medal for finishing the half-marathon.
Griffin’s doctors will allow him to return to running eventually. He said the next time he enters the Richmond Marathon, he intends to finish it.