You never know when you will receive help from a stranger. Sometimes a little extra help can propel you toward accomplishing something for which you’ve spent years preparing. This is what happened to Texas native and psychiatrist Chandler Self at the 2017 BMW Dallas Marathon on Sunday, December 11th.
Self was 2.5 miles from the finish line when Greenhill Academy student Ariana Luterman caught up to her.
“Just so you know,” Luterman said to Self during the race, “the high school relay is out here to compete with you guys. I’m going to be your pacer. We’re going to get you that win.”
A pacer is someone who helps a runner stay on track throughout a race. Luterman had no idea that Self was struggling miles before the finish line due to her professional form and demeanor. However, with the end of the race just feet away, Self’s legs gave out and she collapsed.
“I couldn’t help but think, she has worked so many months. You can be training years for a marathon! The only thing that I could think of to do was to pick her up,” says Luterman. “No way was I going to start sprinting and leave her there. Those last 20 meters she was just down, and I was so worried she was not going to make it, so I picked her up with all my might, and right when we got to the finish line I just kind of pushed her in front of me so she would be the one to cross that line. She grabbed the tape and held it up… she did it.”
Self was immediately rushed away from the finish line by medics at the event. After she was treated, she came back to give post-race interviews. Self explained to a reporter what Luterman was saying to her moments before she finished the race.
“‘You can do it! You’ve got it! Come on, girl, the finish line’s right there, we can see it!’ She was so encouraging and I knew she was right. I wanted it so bad and this was just a dream for me,” said Self.
Luterman has been inclined to lend her hand to those in need since she was just 12 years old. She has been competing in triathlons since the age of seven, and decided to use her platform as a young elite athlete to raise money for homeless children. In five years, her organization, “Team Ariana,” raised over $150,000.
Just as you never know when you will receive help from a stranger or unlikely source, you never know when you will be given the opportunity to help and make a difference in someone else’s life. These opportunities are everywhere; one just has to be open to seeing them.
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