Friendship continues between competitive runners six years after life-altering collapse, rescue

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Posted at 3:20 PM, Sep 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-05 06:02:44-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - It's a special connection that brings Greg Kenny and Jennifer Dugan together. That's because Dugan saved Kenny’s life when he collapsed during a run in 2015.

"I knew he was in distress, I called out for help and he fell down to the ground,” Dugan said. "I just started CPR. Every single time I came up doing compressions, I was just screaming for help."

Help did arrive and Kenny was hospitalized. But she didn't find out what happened to him until one year later, at another race, when she heard his mother's voice.

"All I heard her say was, 'Greg is on the line, ready to go,’” Dugan recalled. “I jumped up to her, got up to her, ran up to him, and it's been awesome ever since."

Kenny survived, but his collapse damaged his brain and left him paralyzed. That hasn't stopped Kenny from going to college as well as competing in the annual Rock 'n' Roll Running Series.

"It's a feeling of accomplishment,” Kenny said as he prepared for the Rock 'n' Roll 5K run. By his side were not only Dugan but his parents.

"He's ridiculously positive,” Greg Kenny Sr., Kenny’s father, said. “He loves the Lord and everything is possible because for Greg because of that."

They're part of Team Hoyt VB, an organization that provides disabled children a chance to compete in races. They're placed into special bikes that are pushed by a runner.

"It's a big support group, one big family, and we just have a great time,” Trey White, the president and founder of Team Hoyt VB, said.

Dugan agreed to push Kenny during this race. Team Hoyt VB got a head start before the other runners.

They ran down Atlantic Avenue and towards the finish line on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk.

"As athlete riders, they're having so much fun,” White said. “The pushers, we get even more out of it. I would never have it any other way."