When a marathon runner collapses at the 26-mile mark, nobody expects them to finish the race . . . but for 29-year-old Hyvon Ngetich, giving up during the Austin Marathon was simply not an option. When the Kenyan runner fell to her knees during Sunday's race with just over 300 meters to go, she'd been leading the female competitors for almost two hours. Her body shut down after being pushed to its limits, but Ngetich was determined to persevere despite the physical obstacles. Instead of accepting assistance from race medical staff, the runner crawled to the finish line on hands and knees — a move that she claims to not even remember.
"I can't remember what happened, and I didn't see the finish line," Ngetich said of her collapse and subsequent finish. "I don't remember all that crawling or whatever." Even after literally dragging herself to complete the race, the runner came in at an impressive third place; something that both race officials and onlookers found extremely honorable. The director of the Austin Marathon described Ngetich as the "bravest person on the planet" before increasing her third place winnings to reflect a second place finish . . . but we don't think that the runner was looking for money when she pushed herself beyond her limits. This kind of against-all-odds endurance comes from a unshakeable mental commitment that many athletes can only dream about.
According to renowned sports medicine researcher Dr. Laura Goldberg, however, the Kenyan marathoner's actions were extremely dangerous. By forcing her body to keep moving after reaching perilously low blood-sugar levels, Ngetich performed in a way that could seriously injure the average runner. "For nonelite runners, there should never be a reason why runner a should crawl to the finish," Goldberg said of the miraculous race. "I get nervous about hearing this story, how it translates through the general population."
Watch Hyvon Ngetich's awe-inspiring finish and let us know what you think — was she incredibly brave to crawl the remainder of the race, or did she endanger herself by pushing forward under such conditions? If you need even more inspiration, check out our favorite motivational fitness stories from all over the world.