Rockwall's Chandler Self was well on her way to a first BMW Dallas Marathon title. Her body had other plans.
"My legs started to turn to jelly at Mile 24," she said Sunday. "Then they really turned to jelly at mile 25."
When she turned onto the stretch for home, her body gave out.
"This is not happening. She's not gonna not finish," Ariana Luterman remembered thinking at the time.
Luterman, a 17-year-old senior from Greenhill School in Addison, was running next to Self at the time, the anchor member of the winning high school relay team.
"You can do it! You got it! Come on, girl!" Self remembered Luterman saying to her. "The finish line's right there! We can see it!"
"We got to the last 20 meters, and when she went down that time, I didn't think she was gonna get back up," Luterman said.
But she did get up. She ran about 16 of those final 20 meters before falling again, getting back up with Luterman's arm around her waist, and lunging forward, touched the tape to seal her victory.
I just kept saying, 'Mind over matter. You got this. You want this,'" Self said.
Self, who's a psychiatrist in New York now, thought she had it under control. Luterman, though, didn't even think about what she should do when the leader went down.
"It was completely instinctual," Luterman said. "Something like that just brings you closer to people. Just to see her reach her goals and surpass them was really incredible."
It was a tricky moment because rules say you can't help someone finish.
She was trying to help me, but I knew I couldn't get help so I was like, 'No thank you,'" Self said.
"I was trying to get some of that weight for her, and then she went down again, and then she went down again, and then she went down again," Luterman said.
She made it, and the victory stood, but Self did have one regret.
"I had this whole visual imagination of me crossing the finish line with my hands up in the air, and instead I just went 'Uhhh...,'" she laughed, motioning like she was reaching toward the tape.
The two women haven't met since the finish line, but the champ had a message for her young shero.
"Thank you so much! But don't help me next time!" she laughed. "Just verbally help me!"
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