This Doctor Competing In An Ironman Triathlon Saved A Man’s Life — And Then Finished The Race

"It was such a great feeling."

Dr. Patricia DeLaMora is no stranger to Ironman competitions, but her eleventh race — Ironman Santa Rosa, in California — included much more than the standard 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and 26.2-mile run.

During that event on July 29, the New York City-based doctor, who specializes in pediatric infectious disease, also helped save a man's life before crossing the finish line.



While on her bike nearly 27 miles into the race, DeLaMora saw a fellow athlete had collapsed to the ground and lost consciousness. Given her medical training, she immediately and instinctively knew she needed to help in any way she could. "It all happened so quickly, there wasn't much thought!" DeLaMora tells A Plus of realizing another competitor was in dire need of medical assistance. "My first instinct whenever I see someone injured is to stop and see if they need help, either in a race (I've stopped in other races as well for crashes) or in 'real life.' "

Dr. DeLaMora at Ironman Santa Rosa.
Dr. DeLaMora at Ironman Santa Rosa. Photo courtesy Dr. Patricia DeLaMora

According to People, DeLaMora and two other competitors jumped into action and began CPR, continuing for several minutes until emergency medical workers arrived and took over.

Once the man was in the care of EMTs, DeLaMora continued the race, but she was unsure if he had survived and desperately tried to get any update she could, even as the grueling competition wore on. "I asked volunteers at every aid station and transition if they had information, but it wasn't until I came across an EMT in the first few hundred meters of the run, right past the first water stop, who, when I asked if he knew what happened to the man at mile 27 of the bike, told me the man had survived," DeLaMora explains to A Plus. "It was such a great feeling, as I had been so distraught for the past several hours."

Dr. DeLaMora at work in New York City.
Dr. DeLaMora at work in New York City. Photo courtesy Dr. Patricia DeLaMora

DeLaMora, who says she's had subsequent contact with the man she helped save and thankfully reports he is "recovering well," also wants others to understand the importance of easy-to-learn, life-saving medical techniques. "CPR saves lives, is easy to learn, and doesn't require a medical background," she states. "Anyone who is able to should learn CPR."  

As for the ordeal, DeLaMora says the reaction to her story has been "a little overwhelming." She also admits she "never expected so much interest and attention" in her journey, though the spotlight does have its perks.

Dr. DeLaMora in Kona.
Dr. DeLaMora in Kona. Photo courtesy Dr. Patricia DeLaMora

Officials at Ironman were so impressed with her selfless, life-saving actions that they surprised DeLaMora with a slot in the World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, which occurred earlier this month. DeLaMora, who had previously been working towards competing in the World Championship, tells A Plus of the experience, "I was, and remain, grateful and humbled that Ironman and Cliff made this happen, and were so generous to me and my husband. Everyone keeps using the word 'amazing,' but it truly was a wonderful, amazing time in Kona."  

Though the race was hard, she concludes, "Crossing that finish line, getting a lei from my husband, and dancing with [Voice of Ironman] Mike Reilly was a rush I'll never forget."

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