Harrowing experience in 2010 Bay to Breakers brings Byk back for more 

The man who died after last year’s Bay to Breakers ran this year’s race with friends and said, “It was awesome.”

Click on the photo at right to see an image of Ken Byk's T-shirt.

Ken Byk is back. You may have even seen that phrase on his shirt during the run, and here is why. Last year, he had a heart attack at the finish line and lost his pulse for 20 minutes. He made a miraculous recovery after learning he has coronary artery disease. But he was not about to give up on Bay to Breakers.

Byk, 53, was determined to run the centennial race with a little more flair.  

He and about 15 friends wore orange shirts that depicted his rescue on the back. It read, “Byk is Back!” and underneath the frame said, “The last time I did this, I died.”

Byk didn’t even know how long it took him to finish this year’s race. “It felt so good physically and emotionally,” he said. “It was fantastic.”

Last year, two runners who happened to see Byk’s heart attack hopped security fences to administer CPR and chest compressions. He only found out who they were through a San Francisco Examiner photograph.

He was so thrilled at his resurrection that he hosted an after-party for about 75 friends. He said next year you can expect to see him again, although he isn’t sure if he’ll throw another party.


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Kamala Kelkar

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