Man to run Andrew Jackson Marathon after nearly dying during last year’s race

JACKSON, Tenn. — Hundreds of runners will hit the streets of Jackson this weekend for the Andrew Jackson Marathon. Bill Akin is one of them.

Akin collapsed after crossing the finish line at the Andrew Jackson Marathon in 2017.

“I remember them putting the medal around my neck and then after that it just, just completely blacked out,” he said.

Akin went into cardiac arrest. First responders saved his life. “They were on me so quickly, within 30 seconds, and that’s the reason I’m here today,” Akin said.

It took months, but Akin eventually returned to running. Saturday he will run the Andrew Jackson Half Marathon. “You just get to the point where fear doesn’t bother you anymore,” Akin said.

The Andrew Jackson Marathon is Tennessee’s oldest marathon. Race Director Danny Crossett said 333 runners signed up this year. “The weather is perfect for a really fast marathon,” he said.

Crossett encouraged people to head downtown and support the runners. “Some of them are really going to be struggling toward the end,” he said.

Akin will run this year with a defibrillator in his chest. “I’ve got such great confidence that, you know, there’s a higher power is going to take me through this, and I have no doubt that I’m going to do it,” he said.

The 70-year-old said he is not competing for a trophy — he just wants to finish.

Proceeds from the marathon go to the Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse. This year, organizers asked runners to bring a teddy bear for abuse victims to hold when they go to court.

Runners can pick up race packets at Performance Running from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday and from noon to 4 p.m. Friday. Participants can also pick up race packets from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at the Jackson Chamber.

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