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As Megan Shifrin waited nervously in the corral at the starting line of the Country Music Half Marathon on April 25, she had one thing on her mind: running the 13.1 miles in two hours and 10 minutes.
It was an ambitious goal, given that temperatures were expected to be unseasonably warm that day, reaching upward of 80 degrees before the race was to end.
“We were thinking that the Country Music Marathon was going to be one of those races that we hoped would improve our times,” she said.
When the starting gun fired, she took off and ran a faster pace than she normally runs for the first two miles. As she headed up a hill on Demonbreun Street and passed mile marker two, she noticed a couple of people gathered around a runner who was lying on the sidewalk, apparently having a seizure.
Shifrin hurried over to the runner, whom she guessed was in her late 20s or early 30s.
“I basically told everyone to calm down because everyone was pretty upset. I rolled her over onto her side and tried to keep her airway open (by repositioning her jaw) so if she vomited she wouldn’t aspirate,” Shifrin said.
The seizure continued for several minutes, and Shifrin’s friends ran ahead to find an ambulance. One of the individuals gathered around the runner was her sister, with whom she had been running.
“I began to ask questions of the people standing around her to see if anyone had witnessed what had happened. Her sister said she just got a strange look on her face and then collapsed. She said she had no history of seizures, wasn’t diabetic, but had taken diet pills the morning of the race.”

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