Ngetich was well on course for victory at the 23 mile mark, but by the time she got to the finish, her body had given out and she was crawling on all fours.
Race volunteers were there with a wheelchair, which she refused to use. She even had to pause to gather up her energy to continue her determined crawl to the finish.
Afterwards, Austin Marathon race director John Conley said to her, “You ran the bravest race and crawled the bravest crawl I have ever seen in my life. You have earned much honour, and I am going to adjust your prize money, so you get the same prize money you would have gotten if you were second.”
Compatriots Betram Keter of Kenya won the men’s in 2:16:21 with Cynthia Jerop passing her crawling countrywoman to take the women’s race in 2:54:22. Ngetich’s personal record in the marathon is 2:34:42.
-I don’t remember-
“I was like winning, you know. I was 500 kilometers in front. I looked back and I didn’t see anybody,” said Ngetich.
Things didn’t go as planned for Ngetich.
“For the last two kilometres, I don’t remember. Finish line, I have no idea,” said Ngetich.
Ngetich was running on empty with less than a mile to go. Her body shut down on the final stretch.
“When she came around the corner on her hands and knees, I have never, in 43 years of being involved in this sport, have seen a finish like that,” said Race Director John Conley.
“Running, always you have to keep going, going,” said Ngetich.
With nurses by her side, she crawled inch-by-inch down Congress Avenue. If anyone helped her, Ngetich would have been disqualified. So the crowd watched as she struggled and cheered as she pushed through the pain.
“They saw that spirit and that hard-wired athletic commitment to get to the finish,” said Conley.
“I remember the lady, the bicycle lady, she was telling me, ‘You are almost,’ so I was just like going because I’m almost,” said Ngetich.
With every last drop of determination she had, Ngetich crossed the finish line on her hands and knees.
“Oh God, thank you, I crossed,” said Ngetich.
Just before Ngetich finished, Austin runner Hannah Steffan passed her and took second place.
“[Ngetich] finished without any help and got a very honorable third place,” said Conley.
-Compiled from Fox Austin and Keye TV
Video credit Fox 7 News