LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A Los Angeles marathon runner, who collapsed and went into cardiac arrest during March’s LA marathon, reunited with the first responders who saved his life Monday.

Jode Lebeda ran in the marathon, which proceeded through record heat and resulted in thousands of runners requiring medical attention, before collapsing at the 20-mile marker.

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“Knowing that I was seconds, inches away from death, you know, (is) something you don’t consider when you’re 28,” Lebeda said. “The number of responders that were there within seconds of me dropping; it’s unfathomable how it all worked out.”

Lebeda, who sells newspaper advertising space, reunited Monday with many of the first responders who played that pivotal role in saving his life.

The response team quickly noted that Lebeda, who collapsed with six miles remaining in the race, did not have a pulse, and proceeded to get cold fluids pumping through him intravenously after using chest compressions. The further use of a cooling machine then proved effective in bringing his body temperature back down.

“When someone collapses due to sudden cardiac arrest, they often times look like they’re just falling or tripping to the ground,” firefighter and paramedic Monica Escamilla said.

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Lebeda greeted the men and women, credited with saving his life, with hugs and smiles, before the LAFD awarded him the 2014 Finisher Medal.

Firefighters advise that, should you see someone collapse, you should try to get there attention either by shouting or tapping. If there is no response, the recommendation is to proceed with chest compression, with the hand pushing down two inches, at the rate of 100 compressions per minute.

Lebeda, meanwhile, says he has no plans to run the marathon in 2015.


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