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Wednesday 28 September 2016

'Her heart wasn't beating' - Husband of runner who collapsed during Dublin City Marathon credits 'guardian angel' with saving her life

Sarah-Jane Murphy

Published 27/10/2015 | 16:20

Runners at the start of the 36th Dublin City marathon in Dublin, Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday October 26, 2015. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Runners at the start of the 36th Dublin City marathon in Dublin, Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday October 26, 2015. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Photographer Mark Condren (no 8652) at the start of the 36th Dublin City marathon in Dublin, Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday October 26, 2015. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

The husband of a female runner who collapsed during yesterday's Dublin City Marathon broke down on radio this afternoon as he thanked the man - someone he had gone to school with when they were younger - who saved her life.

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Alan Leech was lost for words and audibly emotional as he credited Ken Meleady, a nurse, with bringing his wife, Mary, back to life after she collapsed a few miles short of the finish.

A bizarre series of minor coincidences meant that Ken, a cardiac nurse who knew Alan but hadn't spoken to him in about 12 years, was in the right place at the right time and administered the necessary medical assistance.

Ken, who was also running in the event, described how he saw a woman lying on the ground on Mount Street.

He told RTE Radio One's Ray D'Arcy Show that he immediately began CPR and mouth-to-mouth resusitation.

"I saw a girl unconscious on the ground and something told me to look back.

"When I knelt down I realised that she wasn't breathing.

"A paramedic brought over a defibrillator and we used it on her but her heart wasn't beating," he said.

As they continued to administer medical assistance Mary began to breathe again.

Ken recounted the chain of events that preceded Mary's collapse.

It transpired that Ken and Alan knew each other from school but had not seen each other for 12 years.

Prior to the race they bumped into each other and had a brief chat.

During the marathon Mary and her husband Alan, who have four children, became separated. But Ken met her and ran with her for a time, before pushing on and leaving her to run alone.

However, a short time later, Ken's legs were getting sore and he told D'Arcy how he stopped to stretch, meaning that Mary passed him out.

This in turn meant that when Ken resumed running he came upon Mary who had collapsed.

Meanwhile, Alan did not realise what had happened to his wife and began to search for her at the finish line.

He was told by race organisers that she had gone to hospital but he didn't realise the seriousness of her condition.

Alan said that Mary remains in ICU in St. Vincent's Hospital but she is sitting up and talking.

"She doesn't remember much about what happened yesterday.

"The main thing she was interested in was how she did time-wise," he said.

Alan's voice cracked with emotional as he thanked Ken.

"You don't need to say anything Alan," Ken told him.

Mary is expected to make a full recovery.

"She had CT scans and brain scans and her vital organs are all looking good," Alan said.

One listener contacted the show to say that Ken is surely Mary's guardian angel.

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