Runner Calls Himself 'The Luckiest Person On Earth' - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Runner Calls Himself 'The Luckiest Person On Earth'

Koji Takano Koji Takano
Tokiko Takano Tokiko Takano
Dr. Jim Barahal Dr. Jim Barahal
Automated external defibrillator Automated external defibrillator

By Leland Kim

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Koji Takano waited two days for this moment; two long days.

After finishing Sunday's Honolulu Marathon in less than four hours, he fell to the ground. His heart stopped, and he had no pulse. He went into full cardiac arrest.

"Last thing I can remember is finisher's line," said Koji Takano, through a translator.

His wife Tokiko feared the worst.

"I thought he was dead," she said.

Marathon doctors rushed over to Takano with an automated external defibrillator.

"So, this is quite remarkable that somebody went into full cardiac arrest here at the finish line, was brought back, and is walking among us right now," said Dr. Jim Barahal, President & CEO of the Honolulu Marathon.

Takano was hospitalized and released last night.

"I am just so glad I didn't die," he said. "I am so glad I am still here."

This is the first year the Honolulu Marathon has used AEDs. They arrived just 12 days before race day.

"Without this, I could not survive. So I am very, very grateful," said Takano. "I am the luckiest person on earth."

Marathon officials said this could change the use of AEDs in future races.

"But we'll take a look at seeing if more would be helpful and increase the odds of having a successful outcome," said Barahal.

As for the Takanos, they're on their way back to Tokyo. They are grateful they're making the trip home together.

"I feel very fortunate that we're together again here," said Tokiko Takano.

"This is the best, awesome winning marathon result," said Takano. "Nothing else can be better than this Honolulu Marathon."

Takano is a veteran runner. This is his eighth Honolulu Marathon and he has no prior medical problems. He gets to go home today, but not everyone is as lucky. About nine runners die every year at various marathons throughout the country.

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