HOUSTON -- A 60-year-old man is alive thanks to some rescue workers who refused to give up.

Bob Botto collapsed and died on the Rice running track, but EMTs brought him back to life, and on Friday, he got to thank them.

Botto doesn t remember the first time he met the paramedics.

You know, they saved my life, said Botto.

The retired chemist is an ultra-marathon runner -- a person who runs 100 miles at a time.

Last June, he was on the track at Rice when he suddenly fell in front of his friends.

He collapsed right in front of me, said friend John Bryant. I started CPR.

Student members of the Rice EMS squad got to Botto first. Paramedics soon arrived and took him to the hospital.

They said he was clinically dead for 50 minutes. Doctors said he wasn t going to make it.

They were ready to take him off ventilator and call it a day, said Botto s wife, Kathy.

But Bott s race for life wasn t over. His family and friends read him journals and played music, until he woke up eight days later.

He went through months of rehabilitation.

In addition to all the quick acting rescuers, Botto s family said his years of running on tracks helped his body grow stronger and helped him fight for his life.

Not only is he back on his feet, but he s running again. He did a 30-mile ultra-marathon in December.

It's great, said paramedic Mark Williams. It's a complete validation of everything we do. And to see he is in such a great health and is able to run the way he used to run -- it's amazing.

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