Teen sees marathon runner collapse in front of her eyes—what she does next, it’s hard to watch

December 12, 2017 3:19 pm Last Updated: December 12, 2017 3:19 pm

The exhilaration of competition keeps athletes coming back for more. Once the adrenaline kicks in, competitors are able to accomplish incredible things. Feats of perseverance and determination that others marvel at with wonder. But what happens when the adrenaline runs out?

What happens when you near the finish line, and run out of gas? When the adrenaline isn’t enough, that’s where kindness and sportsmanship step in. If it weren’t for the incredible selflessness of high school runner Ariana Luterman, fellow marathoner Chandler Self wouldn’t have crossed the finish line.

After running the length of the marathon at an incredible pace, Chandler Self hit the wall with only a few hundred feet to go.

(Twitter/Screenshot/Chris Sadeghi)

The dramatic scene played out in front of an army of cameras. Chandler was running the entirety of the marathon, while Luterman was running as part of a high-school relay team. According to Luterman, she had no idea Chandler was struggling until she saw her collapse to the ground.

“She was killing it. Right until that last little shoot, I didn’t even realize she was hurting,” Luterman said to reporters after the race. “She just looked so strong.”

Chandler was well ahead of the rest of the pack when she collapsed from exhaustion a quarter-mile from the finish line.

Chandler collapsed with a quarter-mile to go before the finish line. High school relay runner, Ariana Luterman wouldn’t let her quit.

(Twitter/Screenshot/Tommy Cummings)

Luterman, who had only run two miles at that point, was keeping pace with Chandler. When she saw the marathoner go down so close to the finish line, she didn’t hesitate. Rather than seize the opportunity to finish in first place, she helped Chandler to her feet and helped her make it to the finish line.

“I knew she had to cross that finish line before me. The only thing I could think of to do was pick her up. So I picked her up, and I think she was a little confused at first, but no way was I just going to start sprinting and leave her there,” Luterman said.

Chandler leaned heavily on Luterman as she closed in on the finish line, particularly in the final 20 meters. She collapsed several times, and each time Luterman picked her up and encouraged her to keep going.

“I picked her up with all my might, and right when we got to the finish line, I pushed her in front of me so she would be the one to cross that line,” Luterman said.

(Twitter/Screenshot/Chris Sadeghi)

Chandler finished the race in first place, dramatically lunging across the finish line as she fell to the floor. Medics were right there with a wheelchair and rushed her to the hospital. Even after repeatedly collapsing, Chandler finished the race in first place—nearly three minutes ahead of the nearest runner.

Chandler’s official time of 2:53:58 was good enough for first place in the BMW Dallas Marathon.

Chandler might have finished in first place in the marathon, but it’s Luterman’s act of selflessness that is making the rounds. It just goes to show that winning isn’t everything.