Heart attack survivor crosses finish line 50 days later

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WRIC Newsroom – RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) —  It's been 50 days since thousands of runners left the starting line at the Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10K.

Bill Hughes was just about half way into the race on April 9th when he collapsed from a heart attack.

On Sunday, the men and women who helped save his life joined him as he finally finished the race that took seven weeks to complete.

"When I start to do something I want to finish it and I just felt bad that I hadn't finished,"  Hughes said.

Hughes also got the chance to thank the people who saved his life.

"It's overwhelming to think about how many people helped me that day and all of the timing the timing had to be just right," he said. "I'm just so blessed."

Hughes said he can't remember anything after the time he fell. His daughter, Bethany Gordon, said she remembers it vividly.

"I feel like he grabbed my arm and then he hit the floor, hit the ground, face planted," Gordon said.

Gordon knows CPR, so she was the first to start compressions.

"The lady next to me said ‘are you a relative' and I said ‘I'm his daughter' and she said ‘let me take over' and that's basically when I fell apart and I just was crying, I was praying, I started calling people," Gordon explained.

Now because of his survival story, they hope more people will learn how to perform CPR.

"I think back to five years ago when my brother died from a heart attack," Hughes said . "If more people had of known how to do CPR back then, could he have been rescued?"

Even though he had survived the heart attack and surgery, he couldn't get over that he hadn't crossed the finish line.

"It's just something that's been bothering me for seven weeks that I hadn't finished this race,"  Hughes admitted. "To be able to now finish it means a lot to me."

The race was complete with an official finish line banner and race medals.

Although, this time, there was a new support system behind him he never thought he'd have.

June 1st is also the beginning of National CPR and AED week.