Marathoner Escapes Killer

A local runner who had a heart attack shortly after running a marathon is now ready for the New York Marathon.

John Spangler  was all sweaty after just having run a marathon, but the feeling he had in his chest was well ... weird. Within seconds after going to the emergency room at Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas, he was hooked up to an EKG. Five minutes later, the 47-year-old Spangler was told by doctors that he was having a heart attack.

When it comes to the treatment of heart attacks, time is muscle, according to doctors. The less time that elapses between diagnosis and treatment, the less likely the heart will be damaged. Emergency rooms need to have everything in place to fast-track the process.

"I had a hard time running the last 5 miles, but I just figured it was normal to start hurting, " Spangler said. "My wife, Stacey, was driving me home when I started getting this strange heartburn that went from one arm to the next. All I really wanted to do was shower and get something to eat, but, luckily, we decided to stop [at the hospital]."

Doctors performed an angiogram and cleared a blocked vessel by inserting a stent. Less than two hours after finishing the Rock & Roll Marathon, Spangler was recuperating from heart surgery. Fast forward to a year later and he has run the same marathon again and is planning on running the New York City Marathon.

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