Dr. Lukash and a Secret Service man who had been running immediately behind the President hustled over and supported him under the arms. Carter tried to continue, but his legs were obviously no longer in working order. Still supported by Lukash and the Secret Service man, he staggered to the top of the hill, where, about 100 yards short of the entrance to Camp David, he stopped.
An ambulance arrived, but no move was made to put Carter in it. A few minutes later, assisted by Dr. Lukash, the President got into a private car, which turned into the entrance to Camp David and disappeared.
Meanwhile, back at the finish line Lindsey had won in 30:00.1, 37.4 seconds ahead of Dan Rincon, who came in 37.5 seconds ahead of the third-place Kardong. The first to finish in Carter's division, the 50-59 age group, was 53-year-old Herbert Chisholm in 36:43. Then came 56-year-old Glenn Coleman. The crowd had heard nothing of Carter's difficulty. "If the President is going to get an award, he's going to have to hurry," said the man on the P.A. microphone. "There are two guys in his age group in already."
Reporters interviewed the First Lady as she waited for her husband's arrival. "He had liquids, I know that," she said when she was asked about his pre-race breakfast, "but he was up before I was, so I don't know what they were."
Kardong, again hoping for a glimpse of the President, was standing nearby when he saw a message being passed by a White House staffer to the announcer. "He's not going to finish here," the announcer told Kardong quietly. Then the word was out that Carter had been forced to drop out of the race after 3� miles. Mrs. Carter was escorted away and rumors began to fly.
A Washington internist said he had come upon the scene as Carter faltered and had been shocked at how bad he looked. "If a man came into my office looking like that, I'd assume he'd had a heart attack," he said.
"He could have been hyperventilating," someone else said. "He just went out too hard," said another. "Poor guy. He has such bad luck," said a third.
After a time, the commotion quieted. Word had come from the White House staff that the President was O.K., and the crowd settled on the grass to listen to a bluegrass band and to await the awards ceremonies. At about 2 p.m. there was a stir on the hill behind the audience. Turning, the crowd saw the President approaching the platform, smiling broadly and apprently as fit as a blue-grass fiddle. Dr. Lukash, who had examined Carter, said later there was no concern, that he was "in good physical condition." The voice on the microphone announced that the President of the United States would be presenting the awards, and the crowd cheered.
"They had to drag me off," said the beaming President, still dressed in running shorts and sweat shirt. "I didn't want to stop."
When Kardong came up to receive his third-place trophy, he invited Carter to race in Spokane, Kardong's hometown. "I don't know if you'll enjoy the race more than this one," he added, "but I promise the course will be flat." The President roared with laughter.