When it comes to running, everyone in a given race is the competition. Even yourself.
It’s not uncommon to see a body turn against itself especially during long distance race. A female runner found that out the hard way recently at the Philadelphia Love Run Half Marathon.
As the woman neared the finish line, her legs gave out on her. Before she collapsed to the ground, two male runners stopped running and came to her aid. Despite her mental will to finish, she couldn’t go any further.
That’s when a third runner came to the rescue, scooping up the woman and carrying her just short of the finish before putting her down and allowing her to cross the line. The entire sequence was captured on film by FOX 29 in Philadelphia.
The identities of the racers were originally a mystery, but The Washington Post tracked down those involved and spoke to them about their experiences.
“I wasn’t sure I could do it on my own but when they came, I was really grateful because they helped me push my limits,” said 21-year-old Haley Klinger of her compassionate fellow runners.
45-year-old Bryan Crnkovic and a still unidentified man were the first two competitors to stop and help the woman before Joseph McGinty, 31, noticed what was happening and turned around.
“I saw she almost fell to the ground, so I grabbed her and said, ‘Let’s go,’ ” said McGinty, who was using the race as training along with his friend, Crnkovic. “It was instinct. Someone was in need and I wanted to help,” he added.
Klinger also recalled McGinty’s words to her as he scooped her up. “We’re going to finish this race together,” she quoted him as saying.
“I wasn’t completely aware of what was happening,” Klinger said. “I really just wanted to finish the race — I just wanted to complete it and then sit down.”
Crnkovic said the selfless act of runners helping other runners is a common occurrence in long distance races, but it just so happens that he and McGinty were caught on film during their good deed.
“I’m becoming famous because somebody caught 15 seconds of me doing the right thing,” he said. “It’s something that we do all the time. In marathons and triathlons, if somebody’s faltering, there’s always somebody else saying, ‘Come on, you can do it.’ ”
Earlier in the month, two University of North Texas students, volunteering as medical personnel for the Cowtown Half Marathon, helped an elderly woman finish the race.
“It felt like I’d really accomplished something,” said 62-year-old Suzanne Stone, who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in 2014. “It was not how I imagined the race ending, but… it was still a good feeling.”
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(Photo credit: FOX 29)