SUNRIVER — Larry Watts said he felt as good as he had in years as he crossed the finish line of the half marathon Saturday at the Pacific Crest Endurance Sports Festival.
He looked better, too.
“Everybody said I looked better than ever, and finishing I looked better than I have in years past,” said Watts, a 69-year-old dentist from Redding, California, who finished the 13.1-mile race in 2 hours, 52 minutes and 22.4 seconds.
Along the course were some familiar faces, those of the people who helped save Watts’ life a year ago. His story was featured in Friday’s Bulletin.
The families of Paul Ash and David Antezana, the two Portland neurosurgeons who last year performed CPR on the fallen Watts until a medic arrived to transport him to St. Charles Bend, on Saturday morning were holding encouraging signs at mile 4, the place where Watts dropped to the ground after suffering a heart attack.
Karen Christopherson, a retired nuclear medicine technologist from Yakima, Washington, and the first person to treat Watts, was waiting for him Saturday at the finish line in Sunriver Village.
“Right before crossing, I was able to hug her and hug David and Paul, the people that kept me alive,” said Watts a couple of hours after the race. He added that finishing the race proved to himself that he was fully healed from the heart attack. “It was a great day. It’s great to have it behind me. There’s a little bit of anxiety, running a half marathon after a heart attack.”
While Watts does not have another race scheduled, he is interested in the Mt. Shasta Tinman Triathlon — an annual Labor Day weekend race staged in and around Lake Siskiyou in Northern California.
“It sounds like it would be fun,” he said. “I like riding my bike and used to surf as a kid so swimming is not a big deal. Now I’m confident I can continue doing this kind of stuff.”