Marathon runner crawls to finish line after collapsing
This year's Austin Marathon and Half Marathon was noteworthy in particular due to one determined runner who got down on all fours and crawled to the finish line. For the majority of the race, 29-year-old Hyvon Ngetich of Kenya was leading the female pack, but as she got within about 1.2 miles of the finish line, her body started to give out.
She knew she was winning at that time, but when the end of the race was less than a mile away, she couldn't take being on her feet any longer.
Race volunteers and nurses rushed over to her offering aid, but Ngetich refused to take the help as she knew accepting it would disqualify her.
She declined the wheelchair that was offered to her and instead decided to crawl more than 400 meters on her bare, bloodied knees and hands
She was exhausted after the crawl, but she did complete the race and landed in a stunning third place. At the medical tent, medics realized that Ngetich's blood sugar was frighteningly low. Ngetich told BBC World Radio Service that she has no memory of collapsing.
She says her incredible feat was news to her, as she thought she didn't finish when she reached the medical tent. "I have a lot of pain in my knees, and then I realize that something has happened," she said. Of the crowd chanting and the wheelchair, she says she remembers "nothing."
"If my memory worked well, I would have stopped, you know," she said. "They were telling me that I was saying, 'let me go, I am going to finish,' but that was ... mentally, no. Nothing. I don't remember anything."
Austin Marathon race director John Conley was impressed by her determination and chose to adjust the prize money so she received as much as the second place winner.
Conley stated, "When she came around the corner on her hands and knees, I have never, in 43 years of being involved in this sport, have seen a finish like that," KHOU reports.
CNN reports that Conley said: "What we saw was a champion, the toughest person on the planet."
Social media went wild for Ngetich's incredible act of strength and determination. From @StateHouseKenya to Navy SEAL and Purple Heart honoree Marcus Luttrell, people across the globe were awed by her crawl to victory.
Though Ngetich's story is inspiring, Dr. Laura Goldberg, a sports medicine specialist at Cleveland Clinic and medical director of the Cleveland Marathon, told ABC News it's certainly not a move she'd ever recommend: "For the non-elite crowd, there should never be a reason why runner a should crawl to the finish," Goldberg said. "I get nervous about hearing this story, how it translates through the general population."
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