Kind Student Helps Another Marathoner Who’s Collapsing Near Finish Line, Lets Her Win the Race

Joining a marathon is no joke. Running all those miles can take a toll on your body, even if you had trained and prepared for the race.

For marathoner Chandler Self, finishing the race was everything but she has also set her eyes on winning the race. But things did not go as planned for the psychiatrist who hails from New York when she joined the BMW Dallas marathon last December 10, 2017.

After nearly 3 hours of running the race, she collapsed just a few yards from the finish line. Her months of training would come to naught her legs could no longer carry her to the finish line to win the race.

But Chandler was in luck because high school student Ariana Luterman from Dallas happened to be just a step away when she collapsed. Ariana was running as part of the relay race and was NOT competing directly with Chandler.

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Instead of leaving Chandler behind to continue with her own race, Ariana chose to pick the older marathoner up and help her.

Chandler was down but she resisted Ariana’s help at first, afraid that she might be disqualified if she accepted the assistance. After all, most races have rules against runners receiving assistance.

She thought she could just crawl her way to the finish line, so long as she would not be disqualified from the race. But Ariana was persistent, encouraging her to get up and helping her along. Too tired to resist, Chandler eventually accepted the young girl’s help.

The older marathoner collapsed several times yet Ariana refused to leave her side.

Amazingly, as they reached the finish line, Ariana pushed Chandler forward to help her win the race! The latter reached out for the tape before collapsing again.

Photo credit: Nathan Hunsinger/The Dallas Morning News – Washingtn Post

Did I win?” she immediately asked as medical staff moved to help her. The question was actually serious considering she could have been disqualified for receiving help from Ariana but the race officials ruled that the win was valid after considering the distance between the other runners.

Chandler’s win did not sit well with many people, saying Ariana deserved to be declared as winner especially because the kid had a heart of gold to help the older marathoner but it was later pointed out that the two were not competing against each other.

Chandler won with the official time of 2:53.57 while the second placer was Caitlin Keen whose official time was 2:56.38.


Asked why she stopped to help Chandler and not just run ahead to win her own race, the high school student said she did not mind, saying she did not have the heart to just watch Chandler fall to the ground and dropping out of the race when she would have been the winner had she not collapsed.

With that answer, we knew for sure that Ariana is truly the winner in this marathon, in so many ways, even if she didn’t get the coveted title… Someday soon, we hope to see this young girl making headlines again as the marathon winner!

Watch Ariana’s interview here: