Heroic Team Saves Runner’s Life During 2021 Boston Marathon

By Sophia Giordano

A veteran runner at this year’s Boston Marathon was saved by a group of strangers after she went into cardiac arrest during the race. The Boston Marathon is known for its stories of triumph, perseverance, and in the case of this group of strangers, heroism. 

Meghan Roth, 33, was on pace to beat her personal record in the 8th mile of the marathon. “Going into the race, I felt in the best shape of my life,” Roth told WCVB. “It was literally seconds when, all of a sudden, I kind of went fuzzy, and I remember looking down at my feet, then all of a sudden I just went down. I don’t even remember hitting the ground.”

Nursing student Cameron Howe saw Roth fall from the balcony of his home, where he was hosting a marathon watch party with friends, including retired ICU nurse Marie Rogers. Howe and Rogers rushed to the scene and could not detect a pulse from Roth. They began administering CPR. Over the course of the next few minutes, more strangers came to Roth’s aid: Paramedic Nick Haney, kidney doctor David Pai, and ER physician Tanner Smith. 

The group worked together to stabilize Roth until she was transported to Tufts Medical Center by the Natick Fire Department. Paramedics shocked her with a defibrillator, which brought her back to consciousness. Doctors then implanted a cardioverter defibrillator in her chest to correct life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias. By the end of the week, she was back home in Minnesota with her 9-month-old son. She has since spoken individually with all of the strangers that worked together and saved her life. 

During a ceremony this Wednesday at the Natick fire headquarters to recognize the heroics of these strangers, Roth’s letter to first responders was read to the crowd: “At 9:44 a.m., my life came crashing down. You were there to save me. From the lifeless moments of despair, to the miracle of life, I am so blessed to be here today,” she wrote, “I’ll never stop dreaming big and pursuing everything I want in life. I want you to know that if it wasn’t for you, I just wouldn’t be here to write this message. I wouldn’t have the chance at the life I’ve always dreamed of. Thank you for giving me my love back.”