Sometimes we need a little help to get over the finish line.
During the 26.2 mile Beach to Beacon marathon race in Maine, USA, Jesse Orach was the man to beat. Coming in at first place last year and a favorite to win in 2017, Orach proved his metal by pulling away from the pack for an early lead after just a few miles.
Fellow runner Robert Gomez was about 30 seconds behind Orach when he rounded the final bend… but instead of a celebration at the finish line Gomez saw a sea of medical personnel crowding around a crumpled body.
As he neared the commotion, Gomez realized that the collapsed athlete was Orach.“For a split second I kept going until I looked and saw it was Jesse,” Gomez said. “I couldn’t leave him there. In the running community, I feel camaraderie comes before competitiveness.”
What you see here is the epitome of sportsmanship and selflessness and caring. Jesse Orach (Maine singlet), 23 and a recent UMaine grad, had built a strong lead this morning but was struggling to finish and win the Maine Division title of the @tdbeach2beacon. His only competitor, Robert Gomez (Dirigo singlet), sees Jesse’s in trouble but rather than breeze past him in the chute to win his first Maine title in 10 tries, the 34-year-old stops to offer assistance and gets Jesse across the finish line in first, sacrificing his own glory (and $$$). Does it get any better than that? #tdb2b10k #mainesummer #selflessness #thewaylifeshouldbe
In a move unheard of, Gomez bend down mid stride and scooped Orach to his feet. Together, with Gomez holding on tight, the duo neared the finish line until a small shove from Gomez sent Orach over the finish line, taking first place.
“He ran a better race. He gave it more than I did,” Gomez said. “I didn’t deserve to win.”
At first, Orach didn’t realize he’d taken first place again… a feat only 3 other runners had done before him. As the realization of what happened swept over the exhausted 23 year old, the reality of Gomez’s gestures really hit home.
Orahcs’ body temperature spiked at 107.3 degrees that day and he was left shaken… but alive and thankful to his newfound friend.
“I’ve felt better,” he said, smiling. “There was a lot of pressure, which could have played a factor in how the race ended. I definitely liked the atmosphere better last year when I didn’t have a target on my back.”
Even though Orach was the man to beat, it’s clear he had friends on his side.
I am not proud to say I was the first runner at the @tdbeach2beacon to go to the med tent. My race would have ended 100m from the finish line if it wasn’t for the selfless help of this Maine road racing legend, Rob Gomez. I am speechless. This is what makes Maine distance running special. #beachtobeacon #heatstroke
But according to the ever humble Gomez, he is no one special, just another runner in a community that would do that for anyone.
Share his humbling story and spread a little inspiration!