Heard on the Hill

Tillis OK After Collapse During Capital Challenge Race

Republican senator says he'll be back to work in the Senate

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., in black shirt, and Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., in yellow shirt, run in the ACLI Capital Challenge 3 Mile Team Race in Anacostia Park on Wednesday. Tillis reportedly collapsed later. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated as of 10:12 a.m. on May 17

Sen. Thom Tillis said he was doing fine after he collapsed during Wednesday morning’s ACLI Capital Challenge road race.

Tillis posted a video from the hospital where the North Carolina Republican was transported by ambulance from the three-mile race course.

“I’m fine, just running about two-and-a-half miles in got overheated. No CPR, no special measures, just checking me out,” Tillis said. “See you back on the Hill.”

Roll Call confirmed that Tillis collapsed in the vicinity of the two-mile marker along the course through Anacostia Park. 

Roll Call’s Simone Pathé, who ran in the race, reported that she, “saw a man wearing a dark t-shirt [later identified as Tillis] lying on his back on the grass, with his hands over his head on the ground.”

“A pack of runners ahead of me slowed down, went over and tapped him on the shoulder. He clearly wasn’t OK, and they began to touch his chest, then began motioning for help,” she said.

“A volunteer on a bike came over. One runner ahead of me started sprinting toward a parked ambulance, while others stayed with him and called for additional help.”

The Associated Press had reported that CPR was used, but in his video message Tillis said that was not the case.

Before his condition was known, Tillis’ colleagues in Congress were quick to offer prayers for the first-term senator.

“Prayers with my friend and his family. Scary, heart wrenching news,” Tweeted South Carolina GOP Sen. Tim Scott in response to the original report from the AP.

Other lawmakers quick to ask for prayers included Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and fellow North Carolinian, Rep. Patrick McHenry.

Tillis, age 56, was elected to the Senate in 2014.

A course volunteer confirmed that Tillis was transported by ambulance. A second runner who collapsed was breathing, race organizers say, and that person was  being transported to Medstar Washington Hospital Center via Park Police helicopter.

Jason Dick, Emily Wilkins and Alex Gangitano contributed to this report.

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