Experienced marathon runner, Chandler Self, was nearing the finish line when the unexpected happened.
Self had been keeping a steady pace throughout the entire BMW Dallas Marathon on Saturday. The Dallas-native had returned from New York City, where she works as a psychiatrist, to compete in the race. During the last leg, Self, who had been trailing behind competitor Kaitlin Keen, managed to pull ahead.
Self was heading toward victory when she felt her legs give.
“I saw the finish, I knew I was gonna win,” Self tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “I couldn’t wait to get there; I was on Cloud 9 — and then all of a sudden, my legs gave out from underneath me. I tried to will my legs to go but just couldn’t.”
Self had fallen and gotten back up a few times before high school runner Ariana Luterman ran over to help Self complete the race. The 17-year-old triathlete had been running alongside Self for two miles in a separate race when she saw Self go down, Yahoo Lifestyle reports.
“I thought she had tripped. She went down again and again. The last time she went down she was about 20 meters from the finish line,” Luterman tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “I was worried she wasn’t going to make it to the end.”
After Self fell again, Luterman left her relay race to go and support Self across the finish line.
Self was worried about the marathon rules – runners can’t have help during the race – but Luterman kept with her, figuring it would be ok since she is a runner herself.
Luterman held Self’s arm and helped support her weight as they ambled toward the finish line, letting Self cross first.
Once she crossed, Self collapsed on the ground and medics helping with the marathon rushed over with a wheelchair to assist her.
Despite the unconventional finish, Self managed to nab her first ever marathon win and break a record – becoming the first female to cross the 2017 BMW Dallas Marathon finish line with an unofficial time of 2:53:58.
Marcus Grunewald, Dallas Marathon director, made the win official after determining that Self would have won the race without the help. Self’s competitor, Keen, agreed that Self would have won with the lead she had.
Self, who says she’s never experienced any leg issues before, plans to investigate the issue. But for now she’s just thankful Luterman was there to help.
Luterman insists that she didn’t do anything other people wouldn’t have done.
“I’m really not anything special,” she says. “Any other of the members on the relay team, I know for a fact they would have done the same thing.”
Lutger is no stranger to helping others. The high school teenager also runs a nonprofit for homeless children called Team Ariana.