WHAT WOULD YOU DO? Video goes viral of fellow runners helping one of their own make it to the finish line of the Philadelphia LOVE Half Marathon on Sunday March 26.
The participants were all coming in under the 2-hour mark when the act of kindness occurred. Two men from Pennsylvania stopped to help a woman they saw struggling toward the finish line on wobbly legs, at the end of the race. A third man was also involved. Suddenly, one of them picked her up in his arms and ran, carrying her to a point just before the line so she could cross under her own power. Then they helped her to find aid.
Competitor.com reported on the story and has a link to another piece from Fox 29.
Seeing this I wondered what I would have done. There were others nearby in the race who did not become involved. Would I overthink the situation, weighing the 'pros' and 'cons', such that the opportunity to act would come and go before I responded? Admittedly, I do not have the strength to contemplate such a bold move as swooping up another human being at the end of a 2-hour race.
But if I was going to finish such that I placed high in my age group with a chance at a medal, would I have slowed down to offer my assistance or encouragement? Or even recognized the situation while intensely focused on finishing? Would I wonder if the person would be insulted or offended at my taking control? Is it best policy to let someone collapse before interfering?
For both rescuers and rescued in this instance the outcome was as good as it could have been. The runner likely wasn’t going to finish solely under her own power, and an under-2-hour time would not have been realized. Instead of experiencing a sense of failure, she felt the selfless love of other runners helping her meet a challenge. In delaying their own finish the men insured they would not be second-guessing themselves later for passing a runner in distress. Instead of gaining seconds on their race times, they become heroes and role models.
It seems that, like running to compete in a race at a specific pace, we must persevere at practicing acts of kindness regularly, so that we are capable of automatic mental and physical responses in times of need.
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EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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