Sunday, June 22, 2014

Runner Down; Rick Lecuyer Collapses at Boston Marathon

Rick Lecuyer
Fifty-seven year old Rick Lecuyer is an extraordinary individual.  The 2014 Boston Marathon was to be his twenty-first full marathon and second Boston Marathon but, as with many things in life, it did not go as planned.

Rick first qualified for Boston in 2008 at the Ottawa Marathon. He qualified again in 2012 at the Chicago Marathon with an outstanding 3:12:27, almost 18 minutes faster than the required time.  In addition, Rick has completed over 30 half-marathons and dozens of 5 and 10 k event. Clearly, this man is no stranger to distance running.

Rick is the consummate runner; he knows about pain, suffering, goals, triumphs, and defeats. He frequently volunteers at races throughout the city and can often be seen cheering runners curbside. Those that know him will attest that he’s well respected and loved within our tight community. He’s quiet, reserved and shy about sharing his achievements with this pesky blogger. He understands the significance of the events leading up to his collapse and wants others to be cautious.  Rick agrees his story could save a fellow runner's life and for this reason, he wants it told.

Rick was feeling confident and strong in the days leading up to the Boston Marathon.  He was eating and sleeping well and was hydrated. He ran a “good strong pace” the day before the marathon to loosen the legs and ease the pre-race jitters.

Rick was seeded in wave 1, corral 9 as planned, while his life-partner Lorraine started in wave 3, corral 8.

“We’ll meet at the finish line” was the fateful plan du jour.

Rick started strong and was on pace for the first 13 miles. He first sensed a twitch of discomfort at mile 14 and slowed his pace. Still running, he became light headed and disoriented. Suddenly a jolt of pain permeated his right arm and then his chest felt tight and his breathing became labored.  At mile 15 Rick went down on one knee clutching his chest and fainted, collapsing in the gutter of the famed Boston Marathon.

The all too familiar call was made “runner down” and the critical response team jumped to action.

He remembers opening his eyes about a minute later, bewildered, confused and wanting to continue with the race. The police on site told him that wouldn’t be happening and an ambulance was dispatched.  Rick was taken to Beth Israel Hospital, the same hospital the bombing victims were triaged in 2013. 

The medical team noticed Rick’s Road ID and called his daughters Noelle and Nicole who then began the arduous task of contacting friends and family. Lorraine’s daughter Jenn was the first contacted. In the face of adversity these three amazing women calmly developed a plan to text contacts at the Boston Marathon who would then meet with Lorraine.  Noelle was steadfast in her communication with the hospital and together, with good friend Bill Diehl Jones, critical information trickled to his loved ones and friends gathered in bars, hotels, and coffee shops throughout Boston.

The attention now shifted to finding Lorraine who was still on the course oblivious to the happenings.  Two friends eventually located her next to the Boston Common gate.  They provided broad strokes and advised her to call home.

Exhausted and elated from just having completed the most prestigious marathon in the entire world, and now hit with this tragic news, Lorraine’s brain was simply not capable of retaining information. She quickly passed the phone to a friend who took the details.

Lorraine shares:

“The scene at the Beth Israel was somewhat of a war zone with lots of injured runners. By the time I reached him they were discussing options for his care… and concluded that he had not suffered cardiac arrest.”

The reason for Rick’s collapse remains a mystery and is as perplexing as it is unsettling.  He now runs with a HRM and has newfound appreciation of his own mortality.

The final word goes to Rick

“Never leave home without your Road I.D. during training times or race day. It saved my life and it could save yours. Write the names and phone numbers on the back of your bib of people waiting at the finish line.”

It’s a good day to be alive, right Rick?


Order your Road ID today.  Tell 'em Rick and Lorraine sent you.