HOUSTON – Rand Mintzer has been running for more than 30 years; in fact, he even wrote a book about the sport.
On Sunday, the 57-year-old was running his 25th marathon and his 11th Houston Marathon when he collapsed along the course.
“I wasn’t feeling well, so I went over and threw up,” Mintzer told KPRC. “I started running again, but I felt very light-headed and things kind of became blurry.”
Just before mile 15, Mintzer fell to the ground and was in full cardiac arrest. A spectator standing on the sidelines saw him go down and sprang into action.
“I just happened to be in the right place at the right time,” said Stephanie Baisey. “I was able to jump in right away, which was fortunate.”
Baisey is a registered nurse from College Station; she was in town to cheer on her husband, who was also running the marathon.
Baisey performed 10 rounds of CPR on Mintzer until some workers from a nearby assisted-living facility brought over a defibrillator.
They eventually got a pulse.
“He was in full cardiac-arrest,” said Baisey. “I would never stop, never give up until paramedics could arrive.”
"Apparently I was dead for about eight minutes,” Mintzer said. “She saved my life.”
An ambulance arrived and paramedics rushed Mintzer to the Memorial Hermann Heart and Vascular Institute Southwest.
Doctors put in a stint because he had a severe blockage in one of his arteries.
After three days in the hospital, Mintzer was cleared to go home and cleared to start exercising again but must take it slowly.
He said his marathon days are over.
“I hope to run again,” he said. “I thought 25 may be my last marathon, but I think 24 is a good place to draw the line.”
When asked what he would say to all the people who helped him on Sunday, the married father of two became very emotional.
“I can’t say,” he said, choking back tears, “but they know.”
Mintzer and Baisey have emailed back and forth and are planning a reunion very soon. Baisey said the moral of this story is to learn CPR.
“You don’t have to be a health professional to save someone’s life,” she said. “Anyone can learn CPR, and you never know when you may need it.”