In an extraordinary show of patriotism and determination, Kenyan marathon runner Hyvon Ngetich crawled to the finish line after developing health problems while in second position on the final stretch.
While she lost a chance to win the 2015 Austin Marathon after she collapsed with less than 50 meters to the finish line, her determination to cross the finish line in spite of her has won hearts and admiration around the globe. Ngetich, 29, who was leading the women runners for most of the race started losing steam with about two kilometers to go.
But Hyvon kept going.
However, with the finish line in sight, the Kenyan runner was overwhelmed and came crashing down on the tarmac road in downtown Austin a city about 320 kilometers south of Dallas. Ngetich was determined to finish the race.
After brief pause while on her hands and knees and forehead on the ground, she started an agonizing crawl towards the finish line. The crowd gasped as she desperately crawled to finish the race in third position. They cheered her on as she made several stops to catch her breath.
A nurse kept a close watch on Ng’etich as she crawled but made sure that a wheel chair was close in case she gave up. Both the nurse and the marathon officials refrained from helping her out which would have led disqualification. Ngetich eventually crossed the finish line still on her hands and knees.
“Oh God, thank you, I crossed,” Ng’etich told reporters at the marathon. “For the last two kilometers, I don’t remember. Finish line, I have no idea,” said Ngetich. Race Director John Conley watched in amazement. “When she came around the corner on her hands and knees, I have never, in 43 years of being involved in this sport, seen a finish like that,” he told FOX 7 TV in Austin.
Crowley walked over to Hyvonand told her that she had earned the second place prize money that she lost when her body gave in. “You have run the bravest race and crawled the bravest crawl I have ever seen in my life. You have earned much honour, and I am going to adjust your prize money, so you can get the prize money you would have gotten if you were second,” he told her.
Before she collapsed, Hyvonwas in second place behind another Kenyan runner Cynthia Jerop who went on to win the women’s race with a time of 2 hours 54 minutes and 21 seconds. American runner Hannah Steffan raced past Ngetich as she was about to cross the finish line. She finished with a time of 3:03:69. Hyvon finished with a time of 3:04:02.