Kemoy Campbell

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Kemoy Campbell retires, six months after heart stopped during race

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Jamaican distance runner Kemoy Campbell has retired, six months after his heart stopped while he ran at the Millrose Games track meet.

“It’s with a heavy heart, or half of one rather,” was posted on Campbell’s social media. “I must say goodbye to the sport. I will no longer be competing. I have given my all to this sport. It has taken me to places I have never dreamt of going. It gave a shy boy from a rural area in Jamaica the opportunity to prove himself to the world.”

Campbell, 28, made the announcement after visiting a medical center Thursday, according to his social media.

“I was told today that I shouldn’t compete again or this incident will happen again,” was posted. “I have pushed myself so hard that it almost ended my life. All the goals I had set for 2020 was thrown out the window today. I wanted to be the first Jamaican to medal at Olympics in a distance race, but that’s not going happen.”

Campbell, the only Jamaican to race an Olympic 5000m (eliminated in the heats in Rio), collapsed at the Millrose Games on Feb. 9 while pacing a race at the indoor meet.

He was treated by emergency services and taken to a medical facility. He did not remember what happened, only waking up in a hospital two days later.

“They had to use CPR to revive me,” he said on BBC radio in March. “Doctors were explaining that, hey, my heart stopped. I basically died.”

Campbell said that doctors could not discern the cause of the heart stoppage from tests done while he spent 17 days in the hospital. A defibrillator was reportedly inserted into his chest.

Campbell did go into the meet saying he felt like he couldn’t breathe in practice and had scheduled a doctor’s appointment for after the meet. He thought he had exercise-induced asthma.

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Kejelcha sprints for home in Wanamaker Mile win, misses world record by .02

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Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha, a two-time indoor world champion in the mile, nearly broke the 22-year-old world record for the event, running the 112th NYRR Millrose Games’ Wanamaker Mile in a time of 3 minutes 48.46 seconds. He came up just .02 hundredths of a second short of setting a new world record.

Kejelcha broke his own world lead record which he set two weeks ago with a time of 3:51.70 at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, just three seconds behind the world record (3:48.45) set by Morocco’s Hicham El Guerrouj in March of 1997. 

Today, Kejelcha’s race was one against the clock, with his closest competitor, Kenya’s Edward Cheserek finishing more than five seconds back. The U.S.’ Clayton Murphy finished third.

Full results are here.

A scary scene unfolded in the men’s 3000m when Jamaican pace setter Kemoy Campbell collapsed onto the infield as he led the competitors around the track. Paramedics treated Campbell trackside, eventually moving him from The Armory on a stretcher. No official word of his condition was made available.

Campbell competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics, finishing 25th overall in the men’s 5000m.