Seemingly set to win the Austin Marathon on Sunday, Hyvon Ngetich slowed down, exhausted, and collapsed near the finish line. Being offered a wheelchair for the remainder of the race, the 29-year-old refused and instead crawled across the finish line in third.
Race director John Conley told reporters after the race he had never seen anything like it. He raised Ngetich’s prize money from the $1,000 she was to win for a third place finish to $2,000, equal to a second place finish.
The Kenyan crawled over 300m from where she first fell to the finish.
“You ran the bravest race and crawled the bravest crawl I have ever seen in my life,” CNN quotes Conley as telling Ngetich. “You have earned much honour.”
Others didn’t see it that way.
“For the non-elite crowd, there should never be a reason why runner a should crawl to the finish,” Laura Goldberg, a sports medicine doctor, told ABC. “I get nervous about hearing this story, how it translates through the general population.”
Ngetich was found after the race to have dangerously low blood sugar levels and told race officials she has no memory of collapsing or crawling.