Agonized Marathoner Crawling Across Finish Line Is a Lesson for All of Us (VIDEO)

marathon runner crawls across finish line

Elite Kenyan marathon runner Hyvon Ngetich, 29, has no memory of crossing the finish line in Austin last Sunday. When you see the video of her, you can see why: she’s in pure breakdown mode, her body barely under her control as she crawls the final feet to complete all 26.2 miles. It’s hard to watch — and yet it’s deeply inspiring, because Ngetich’s iron determination is something we’ve all experienced at some point in our lives.


Ngetich was in the lead when she collapsed. Unable to walk, much less run, she was offered a wheelchair by medical staff, but she declined, choosing instead to finish the race under her own power. Crawling until her knees and elbows were bloodied, she finished third, with a time of 3:04:02.

Here’s the awe-inspiring video:

Her superhuman effort reminds me of a quote from ultrarunner Dean Karnazes:  “Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.” I’m no record-breaking runner, but I’ll never forget how I felt during the final mile of the only marathon I’ll probably ever run in my life: like my gas tank had emptied long ago, and I was drawing on sheer guts to get me to the end.

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We’ve all been to that place, whether it’s physical or mental or some combination. I know every parent has endured the rough moments where things just seem impossible. Maybe we’re flattened by sleep deprivation, or driven half out of our skulls by the terrible twos, or we get briefly buried under a terrible suspicion that we’re screwing it all up. Most married couples know that the paths we take together aren’t always strewn with wine and roses: we stumble, we hit brick walls ... and somehow we keep going, hand in hand.

When you look back on your life, can you think of times when you’ve been so depleted you got down and crawled? I know I can. Okay, maybe not literally (seriously, there’s way too much dog hair on my carpet to do that), but in the sense that I soldiered myself along despite everything that was telling me to give up. Whether it’s a tough stage in parenting or getting past the last minutes of a workout or simply weathering a really bad day, I feel like I’ve dragged myself across plenty of finish lines. When I watch Hyvon Ngetich refusing to quit, I think of the words that have helped me through tough times: The only way out is through. The only way out is through.

Have there been moments in your life when you’ve drawn on pure grit?

Image via YouTube

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