There’s nothing like the finish line of a marathon to reveal the beauty of the human spirit. Look no further than what occurred at the tape of Sunday’s BMW Dallas Marathon.
Chandler Self was well on her way to winning the women’s division of the race until her legs turned to jello and she collapsed just 200 yards from the finish line.
Right on her tail was Greenhill Academy runner Ariana Luterman who was competing in the high school relay division of the marathon. Luterman’s leg was the final 2.5 miles of the 26.2-mile course.
When Luterman saw Self’s heartbreaking final steps, the 17-year-old picked her up and helped her cross the finish line.
“The only thing I could think of to do was to pick her up, so I picked her up, and I think she was a little confused at first,” Luterman told reporters after the race. “No way was I going to start sprinting and leave her there.”
Luterman offered words of encouragement, like “You can do it,” and used all her “might” to pick Self up, hold her up, and just before they reached the tape, give her a little push so she would cross the line first.
The act of sportsmanship enabled Self, a psychiatrist from New York City, to win her division in 2 hours, 53 minutes and 58 seconds.
— Chris Sadeghi (@chrissadeghi) December 10, 2017
“She was so encouraging, I knew she was right, and I wanted it so bad and this was just a dream for me,” Self said.
Luterman started about 50 meters behind Self once she got the handoff in the relay. And, her intentions for getting Self to that finish line were revealed early on in their final miles.
“Right when I caught up to her, I told her, ‘Just so you know, the high school relay is out here to compete with you guys, but I’m going to be your pacer. We’re gonna get you that win,” Luterman said.
Little did Luterman know, she would literally have to extend her arms to get Self that win.
“She was killing it up until that last little chute, right when she collapsed,” Luterman explained. “I didn’t even realize she was hurting. She just looked so strong and she was just absolutely beautiful running next to.”
But more beautiful than Luterman’s act of selflessness? That’s up for some serious debate.
Way to go, Ariana Luterman.