The first words out of Chandler Self’s mouth in the Dallas Marathon medical tent on Sunday were, “Did I win?”
Officially, the answer is yes. After collapsing within a half-mile of the finish, the New York psychiatrist won the race in 2:53:57 with the help of a high school runner.
Ariana Luterman, a senior at Greenhill School in Addison, Texas, was running the final leg of her marathon relay and joined Self at mile 24. The pair ran together for a mile and a half before Self began struggling, and by mile 26, she was becoming disoriented and stumbling. Within sight of the finish line, Luterman said she knew she had to help the 32-year-old Texas native complete those final 200 yards.
“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 Tommy Cummings of The Dallas Morning News. “No way was I going to start sprinting and just leave her there.”
As soon as Self lunged to the finish line and slapped the tape, medical personnel wheeled her to the medical tent to recover. At the time, race officials were hesitant to declare her the official winner because she had received help from another runner. However, after reviewing the results with the race committee, executive race director Marcus Grunewald deemed Self the female marathon champion. The distance between her and the next closest runner was large enough (more than two minutes) that she would have finished first, even without assistance.
“I kept saying to myself, ‘Mind over matter. Come on legs,’” Self told The Dallas Morning News. “I’m a psychiatrist. I know the brain is so powerful. I know we can do anything if we put our minds to it.”
Petruny, Morgan. "In Dramatic Finish, Dallas Marathon Winner Finds Help From a High Schooler."
Runner's World. N.p., 11 Dec. 2017. Web. 05 Jan. 2018.