Runner hospitalized after St. Jude Half Marathon collapse - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Runner hospitalized after St. Jude Half Marathon collapse

Gary Buckley, who collapsed during Saturday's St. Jude Half marathon, is still recovering in a Memphis hospital. Gary Buckley, who collapsed during Saturday's St. Jude Half marathon, is still recovering in a Memphis hospital.

(WMC-TV) - An Arkansas man who collapsed during the St. Jude half-marathon remains hospitalized, but credits his survival to other runners who stopped to help.

Those other runners happened to be three nurses and a pair of doctors who stopped and rendered first aid even though they were within sight of the finish line.

Gary Buckley of Mena, AR, gave a thumbs up from his bed at Methodist University Hospital Monday. That's where the 25-year-old has been since he collapsed near the finish line during Saturday's St. Jude Half Marathon.

"It was one of the scariest moments of my life," said his wife Carie Buckley.

Buckley and his wife Carie posed for photos before they started the race with no clue of what was to come.

"He saw the finish line and he said the last thing he thought was I'm almost there - and woke up in the hospital," she said.

Carie actually passed by her husband not knowing it was him as fellow runners came to his aid on the side of the street.

"And I thought in my head ‘Oh my God, that's so awful. Just please be with him and his family,'" she said.

She later learned the man being helped was her husband. He had no pulse as a number of other runners stopped to provide first aid.

"It didn't look good," said Kelly McElhaney.

McElhaney, who happens to be a nurse at Methodist, quickly responded along with two other nurses and two doctors who also happened to be running the half marathon.

"It wasn't us," she said. "I think it was divine intervention here."

The other nurses are a married couple and visited the hospital Sunday night.

"Gary is alive today because of them and if they had frozen or thought someone else would get it, he would not be here today," said Carie Buckley.

She says doctors are still trying to determine exactly what caused a man with no history of health problems to collapse.

Gary Buckley and his wife hope they can return home Tuesday.

The couple has no immediate plans to run again.

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