translated by Brett Larner
Following their actions is saving the life of a 45 year old runner from Kanagawa Prefecture who had suffered a heart attack during April's Kasumigaura Marathon, race director and Tsuchiura city mayor Kiyoshi Nakagawa gave official letters of thanks to five entrants in the race at a ceremony on May 28. The heart attack victim, who left the hospital on May 9, sent a message to his five saviors thanking them and saying, "I hope to be ready to go back to work sometime in June."
The five runners credited with saving the heart attack victim were 30 year old Shigehisa Aoyagi and 43 year old Kenichi Ouchi of Ibaraki Prefecture, Katsunori Sasaki, a 38 year old medical doctor from Kanagawa Prefecture, 54 year old Kenji Hasumi of Saitama Prefecture, and 42 year old Tomoaki Sato of Tokyo. Of the five, Dr. Sasaki and Aoyagi were present at Tsuchiura City Hall to receive the ceremonial letters of thanks from Mayor Nakagawa.
According to the race office, as he was running in the Kasumigaura Marathon Dr. Sasaki came across another runner lying on the ground near the 40 km point. From the condition of the man's body Dr. Sasaki quickly determined that he was suffering a heart attack. He immediately began to perform CPR upon the man's heart with Hasumi and Sato joining in to help the man's breathing, the three working together until race volunteers were able to bring an AED. Aoygai directed oncoming runners away from the stricken man in order to help the ambulance reach him faster.
Dr. Sasaki downplayed his role. "If the heart stops for a long time it can cause long-lasting effects once the victim recovers, so I'm glad we were able to get it started again quickly. The race's volunteer medical staff played a role too so we were all able to do what we could." Aoyagi described his own role, saying "I just tried to steer oncoming runners out of the way so they wouldn't block the ambulance as it came." Mayor Nakagawa described the incident's impact upon the Kasumigaura Marathon. "Next year will be our 20th anniversary. We plan to improve our system for handling emergency situations such as this one."