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Bradley Relay Runner Collapses, Dies

October 21, 1986|JANET CLAYTON and NIESON HIMMEL | Times Staff Writers

A runner in a statewide relay sponsored by Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley's gubernatorial campaign collapsed and died of an apparent heart attack Monday while running a half-mile leg in Chinatown, police officials said.

The runner, Howard Quon, 54, a postal worker who lived in Santa Monica, was a smoker and not a regular jogger, said Christine Ung, Bradley's liaison to the Asian community who recruited Quon for the 1,000-mile statewide relay.

But he "had run 10-K races before and his family said they had no indication of health problems," she said. After unsuccessful attempts to revive him for more than an hour, he was pronounced dead at French Hospital at 1:32 p.m., hospital spokeswoman Phyllis Michaelson said. Initial police reports about the incident were confirmed by Ali Webb, press spokesman for Bradley. Quon, who was president of the local chapter of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance, an equal rights organization, was about halfway through his portion of the run when he collapsed near the corner of Spring and College streets. Bradley, who had greeted runners near Arco Plaza earlier Monday, was not present when Quon fell fatally ill, Webb said.

"We were told initially that he had fainted," Webb said. "But a few hours later the hospital called us and told us they had not been able to revive him."

The relay was delayed about 10 minutes before another runner took up the California flag Quon had been carrying and continued. Webb said the campaign is "saddened by this tragedy for the Quons and for all of us." But, she added, the relay is scheduled to continue.

Irvin Lai, a longtime friend of Quon, said Quon's sudden death "could have happened anywhere. I think he would want it to continue, he'd been active in politics all of his life. I don't believe the family would hold any bitterness toward the campaign. But it does probably mar the whole event."

The death casts a pall over the struggling Bradley campaign's "Run for California," which was kicked off Saturday in San Diego. The relay, which is scheduled to end Oct. 30, had 846 runners sponsored at $500 a half-mile. Although the run is expected to raise about $100,000 for the campaign, campaign officials said its major purpose is to "get people involved in the political process" and to attract attention to Bradley's effort to replace incumbent Gov. George Deukmejian.

Quon had signed a waiver that is standard to races and relays, Webb said. The release, signed just hours before he began the run, releases the campaign from liability in the event of accident or death, she said. Quon had not originally been scheduled to run but was brought in as a substitute after another runner dropped out, Webb said.

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