High School Runner Pulls Fallen Competitor To Help Him Finish

As athletes taking part in competitions, it’s very easy to be so focused on winning that everything else fades out from sight.

And that’s why it’s so refreshing to see young athletes like this boy from Penn High School in Indiana, who showed that he valued his fellow running mate rather than winning a trophy.

Act of kindness

18-year-old, Ben Boardley, was competing at the IHSAA cross country state finals race when towards the end he saw another runner Faizan Khan from Brebeuf Jesuit crash to the ground. Instead of continuing on with the race, the boy helped Khan get up.


A clip of the moment when Boardley helped Khan up has become viral on Twitter and attracted many comments. “I have no idea who these two high school runners were, but great sportsmanship by one of the boys to help a fellow competitor who was struggling to finish,” WTHI-TV Sports Director Rick Semmler tweeted.


Boardley and Khan finished 189th and 193rd out of the 207 at the meet but for most viewers, Boardley was a winner.

“Hats off to our very own Penn Cross Country runner Ben Boardley showing what it means to be a true Kingsmen & Sportsman!” the Penn High School Facebook page shared. “Now this is #PHMExcellence.”

True Winner

“Penn’s Ben Boardley may have finished 189th at State, but he finished #1 in our book,” The Pennant @ Penn High School added. Boardley could have easily been disqualified for his actions, but based on Rule 4-6-5 from the National Federation of State High School Associations, an Indiana High School Athletic Association official ruled that there should be no DQ.

“A competitor who provides assistance to an injured or ill competitor should not be disqualified if neither the individual competitor providing the assistance nor his/her team gains an advantage as a result of providing the assistance,” the rule reads.

BOYS XC: Penn places 18th at the State Championships !!!! Mariano Retzloff places 5th in the state.

5. Mariano Retzloff…

Posted by The Pennant @ Penn High School on Saturday, October 31, 2020

Boardley was described as “hard-working” and “well-mannered,” by Tom Miller, the team’s coach, called according to the Indianapolis Star. Boardley said of the incident, “I just kind of saw it and did it,” Boardley said, “I guess that’s how my parents raised me. They taught me to treat others how I’d want to be treated and to be helpful when I can, because I knew if that was me, I wanted to make sure I’d finish at state.”

Khan allegedly attributed his fall to seasonal allergies and trouble breathing and pain in his thighs and back, which caused him to falter during the race. He was given medical attention and was able to stand again an hour after the race. “I told him, ‘Go finish. I can’t,’” Khan said. “At the end of the race, that’s when your true priorities show. I know what Ben’s priorities are. And what his true character is like.”

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