3 People Carried a Half-Marathon Runner to the Finish Line After her Legs Buckled

3 People Carried a Half-Marathon Runner to the Finish Line After her Legs Buckled

You may think races are all about the competition, but an uplifting video is here to remind us that some runners care more about camaraderie than setting a PR. When one runner struggled to make it to the finish line at Sunday's Philadelphia Love Run Half-Marathon, three competitors rushed to her side to help out.

The woman, who has been identified but remains unnamed, was nearing the end of the race when her legs began to buckle. As she tried to hold herself up, two fellow half-marathon runners grabbed her arms and helped her continue. The group jogged toward the finish line together, but it became harder and harder for the woman to keep running.

Then, another competitor stopped mid-finish line sprint and turned around to help out. He picked the woman up and carried her to the finish line—placing her on the ground just before the end so she could finish the final steps of the race herself. The entire incident was caught on video and has been shared by thousands of Twitter users.

The story is a heartwarming one—made even better by the fact that none of these competitors appear to have known each other before this sportsmanship-filled moment.

Steven Mayer, M.D., sports medicine physician at Northwestern Medicine, tells SELF there are many reasons runners could find their legs buckling at the end of a long race. They could be dehydrated, they could have cardiac issues, and depending on the weather, they could have heatstroke. But Mayer says the most common cause is hyponatremia—low sodium levels. "We don't think it's so much the loss of sodium from sweat, as it is that some runners take in too much fluid while they run," he says. "They take in so much fluid trying not to dehydrate that the concentration of sodium lowers in their blood."

Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to prevent this from happening. For starters, you should make sure you have a good training plan—especially if you've never run such a long race before, Mayer says. "Work with an endurance coach and build appropriately," he says. "You don't want to cold turkey a long race." He also recommends running in different kinds of weather to be sure your body is accustomed to the changes.

Finally, only drink when you're thirsty. Mayer says doctors used to advise runners to hydrate every eight marathon stations (or some other measure of time or distance). But now they tell them to drink based on thirst—for the sake of avoiding hyponatremia. You can also try to eat something salty before or during your run to keep your sodium levels up, though Mayer says it can take some time for the sodium to get into your system.

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