Sep 19, 2018

From Cardiac Arrest to Coach, Minnesota Runner among 2018 Medtronic Global Champions

When Brent Hanson collapsed following a cardiac arrest, he never thought he’d get back up — and run. This fall, he’ll compete as a Medtronic Global Champion during the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon.

The Minnesota native will join 20 other Global Champions at this year’s race on October 7.

Brent Hanson remembers being asked to join his high school cross country team.

“I laughed,” he said. “Who runs for fun?”

But not long after, something happened that would change his perspective on more than just running.

‘I couldn't believe it’

In 2001, Brent Hanson was playing pickup basketball with friends. He was 19, and back home in rural Minnesota. Shooting baskets at the nearby community center was something he had done hundreds of times before, but this time was different.

“I just collapsed,” he recalls. “My friends thought I was joking.”

Young, healthy, and with no indication of any issues with his heart, Brent suffered a cardiac arrest.

“I couldn't really believe it,” he says. “I never thought in a million years this would happen to me.”

He woke up in a hospital where doctors told him he was lucky. His heart had stopped beating and they weren’t sure why.

“They told me I needed an ICD and I had no idea what that was.”

Surgeons implanted an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). It’s a device that would shock his heart if it ever happened again. And it has.

“I’ve had three events where it has helped me,” he says. “One time I passed out, and it literally shocked me back to life.”

Rather than letting a health challenge overcome him, Brent fought back the fear.

“I didn’t want this to stop me from being active and living a normal life. I wasn’t going to let this control me.”

A New Perspective

Seventeen years later, Brent is married, has two children, and is — surprisingly — a high school cross country coach.

“After my health scare, running became a passion of mine,” he says. “I felt at my best on those long runs.”

He’s coached more than a decade at his alma mater, ran the Boston Marathon, and in October, will race in the 2018 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon. More than a race participant, he’ll serve as a Medtronic Global Champion, joining a team of 20 runners from around the world who have overcome health challenges through medical technology.

“It’s unbelievable the adversity these team members have faced,” he says. “They’re thriving and it’s awesome to be a part of that.”

Each year, Medtronic brings together a team of Global Champions to honor runners who’ve shown grit, determination, and triumph in the face of uncertainty.

“Sometimes you feel alone. To have fellow runners who’ve faced similar things you have gone through is special.”

“This has made me a stronger person,” he says. “I’m a dad, a husband, a coach, and a runner. And I’m very blessed.”

Annually, the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon and Medtronic Twin Cities 10-Mile bring together more than 30,000 runners and more than 300,000 spectators. This year’s race is on October 7. Follow the journey of this year’s runners on the Global Champions Facebook page.