Kenyan Runner Hyvon Ngetich Crawls to the Finish Line at the Austin Marathon
For Kenyan elite marathon runner Hyvon Ngetich, successfully competing in a race means fighting – er, crawling – to the finish.
Ngetich, 29, was in the lead for most of Sunday’s Austin Marathon, but her body gave out as she approached the finish line. Instead of calling it quits, she crawled more than 400 meters (or roughly two-tenths of a mile) in order to complete the 26.2-mile run.
After collapsing, Ngetich refused a wheelchair offered by medical personnel and, while on her hands and knees, actually finished in third place (with a time of 3:04:02.68).
She told local Austin news KEYE TV that she didn’t quit because, “Running, always, you have to keep going, going.”
Among those cheering her on was Austin Marathon race director Jon Conley, who adjusted her prize money to be that of a second place winner.
“You ran the bravest race and crawled the bravest crawl I have ever seen in my life,” Conley said to the runner, who was experiencing dangerously low blood sugar levels. “You have earned much honor.”
Though Ngetich’s determination is being celebrated, a sports medicine specialist at Cleveland Clinic told ABC News that other runners shouldn’t necessarily follow her lead. Instead, she said, they should look for signs to know when to stop.
“For the non-elite crowd,” said Dr. Laura Goldberg, “there should never be a reason why a runner should crawl to the finish.”
But don’t ask Ngetich how she felt at the time. She told BBC World Service Radio that she doesn’t “remember what happened.”