Runner gets second chance to finish marathon

August 31, 2011 3:16:10 AM PDT
A runner who collapsed and nearly died near the end of the Chevron Houston Marathon this year is finally getting a chance to cross the finish line. She says she was lucky to collapse where she did.

She was lucky. She collapsed near the finish line where several medics were on standby. And since being hospitalized and undergoing several surgeries, she finally crossed the finish line.

The 2011 Chevron Houston Marathon was hot and humid. It was so taxing Alaina Dixon, who was in her first Chevron Houston Marathon, collapsed.

"I woke up in the hospital and I had a breathing tube in, so I couldn't speak and I couldn't move either and I was just kind of confused, wondering wear I am," Dixon said.

Her groups still trains at Memorial Park. And since she collapsed just feet from the finish line that morning, on Tuesday, they made sure she crossed it.

While hospitalized, an MRI revealed Dixon suffered from a rare heart condition known as anomalous left coronary. Since the heart expands during exercise, it pinched an artery during the marathon. But being a competitor, when she came to in the hospital, she just had to know how the race turned out.

"I asked for a piece of paper to write because I couldn't talk and I wrote to my husband 'Did I beat you?' And I guess I asked, maybe after they pulled the tube, 'Did I get my medal? Did I get my finisher shirt?'" Dixon said.

Thanks to Chevron Houston Marathon organizers, a finish line was erected in Memorial Park and amid cheers. She crossed it and was greeted with champagne and that coveted medal. Her near death experience brings a new appreciation to both she and her husband.

"It makes you appreciate every minute, every time you have with your loved one. And I appreciate the little things in life; just coming home to her is awesome. There is no words that can describe that," said her husband, Justin Dixon.

"It's made me appreciate running a little bit more. Once you can't do it you miss it," Alaina Dixon said.

Two corrective surgeries later, she plans to run again. She says she is registered for the 2012 Aramco Houston Half Marathon.

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