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Here’s the full story of runner being carried across finish line

Runners fight heat to cross finish line at 2016 Boston Marathon
Runners fight heat to cross finish line at 2016 Boston Marathon

Ari Ofsevit doesn’t remember crossing the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

He doesn’t remember medical volunteers dunking him in an ice bath to lower his body temperature or having to be warmed back up after it sunk too low. He doesn’t remember the ambulance ride to Tufts Medical Center or being checked into the intensive care unit.

He does remember waking up in a hospital bed hours later and scrolling across a photo of himself being carried across the finish line by two fellow marathoners.

He remembers the swift and “overwhelmingly positive” social media reaction to the photo, including a tweet from his inspiration for running the Boston Marathon, Meb Keflezighi, the 2014 winner.


So, the Newton North alum and Cambridge resident wanted to figure out who the runners are — Jim Driscoll is on the left in the photo and Mitch Kies is on the right — and reach out to them.

“I just want to give those guys a thank you actually just because they certainly helped me out,” Ofsevit told the Globe in a phone interview Tuesday while he was still in the ICU at Tufts. “I think they did what any of us would’ve done, but just say thank you from really the deepest part of my heart. It’s pretty fantastic.”

. . .

The first two-thirds of his marathon, Jim Driscoll felt great. Then the effects of the heat started to strangle his pace.

“The wheels stayed on the bus until about mile 19, 20, and then everything started falling apart,” Driscoll told the Globe in a phone interview Tuesday.

He started to slow down through the Newton hills and even resorted to walking a few short stretches, a first in the seven marathons he has run. He stopped at every fueling station, drinking water and Gatorade each time. But he realized he wasn’t the only one affected.


“So I’m looking around, I’m doing poorly, I know I’m doing poorly,” said Driscoll, of Ambler, Pa., “but all these people are the people I started with. It’s not going well for a lot of people.”

He forged ahead, telling himself the hardest marathon he has ever run would soon be over.

A little more than 100 yards from the finish line, Driscoll saw a runner fall.

It was Ofsevit.

Driscoll watched as a couple runners made the first attempt to corral him to his feet, to no avail. Resigned to the fact that his time goal had already been railroaded by the heat and hills, Driscoll went over to lend a hand. Mitch Kies did the same, and they carried Ofsevit about 100 yards to cross the finish line.

“He was very, very out of it,” said Driscoll, 25. “His mind was telling him he had to do something with his legs, to move them or swing them, but it was to no effect.”

As the trio crossed, Driscoll shouted for a medic. He was so exhausted at that point that even just exerting the effort to yell forced him to double over as he fought off the urge to throw up.

As a medic raced over to examine Ofsevit, Driscoll and Kies, who did not know each other’s names at that point, just wanted to clear out from the finish line.


“Just looked up, didn’t say any words to each other,” Driscoll said. “Just a fist bump was all that needed to be said. Like, right on.”

Ofsevit, who has completed four marathons, including two Bostons, did not feel any extraordinary pain during the race. It was warmer than he thought it would be — he prefers running in cool weather — with a slight breeze and he was pushing to finish in less than three hours. But the pain he felt before he lost consciousness was more akin to normal marathon symptoms.

Before he blacked out, he was thinking about his post-race game plan.

“I’ll finish and get my drink and I’ll get a cold glass of water and take the T home and take a shower, which is sort of par for the course,” Ofsevit said. “I had no idea that I was as close to dangerously, dangerously overheated.”

Ofsevit’s body temperature had skyrocketed to 108 degrees, prompting the medical volunteers to put him in an ice bath to quickly cool him. It dipped to about 90 degrees before it finally stabilized.

After being transported to Tufts, the next concerns were Ofsevit’s kidney function and compartment syndrome in his legs. Ofsevit said he has had blood drawn “every so often” since Monday afternoon to check kidney function and vitals. His legs are being monitored for muscle breakdown and tissue swelling. He is unsure how long he will remain in the hospital.

“Everything seems to be going the right trajectory,” he said. “It’s just a question of how long it takes to get there.”


. . .

As Ofsevit tries to piece together what happened while he was unconscious, the photo of him, Driscoll, and Kies serves as a marker in the middle of that block, another visual representation of Boston Strong.

“I’m not really the subject,” he said. “The heroes in it are the guys who grabbed me and carried me across the line and then also the folks who were in the medical tent and the folks who were at the hospital and who really knew exactly what to do and probably saved my life.”

But Driscoll, who has run Boston twice, would not have done it any other way. His main sport, adventure racing, requires a team to navigate long distances — some races are 12 hours, others up to 10 days — on foot and bicycle. When a teammate feels weak, the rest of the team rallies around him or her to continue on.

“Sometimes people need help,” he said.

Ofsevit and Driscoll view one of this year’s most memorable finish line moments and the Boston Marathon no differently.

“It was a group or team mentality. We’re all in it together,” said Driscoll, who finished in 3:05:11. “We’re all suffering through this together. I think anybody would’ve done it.”

Ofsevit, who said he plans to reach out to Driscoll via phone to offer his gratitude, missed his three-hour mark by 3 minutes, 5 seconds, finishing in 3:03:05. But he said he’s happy to just be alive at this point.


“I’m glad I’m here to do it again,” Ofsevit said. “I’m glad that there will be 30,000 people next year doing it whether I’m one of them or not, so be it. I hope I am. If I’m not, I’ll be out cheering on the sidelines.”

Rachel G. Bowers can be reached at Follow her on Twitter@RachelGBowers.