Hyvon Ngetich, a marathon runner from Kenya, collapsed while running the Austin Marathon in Texas Sunday, but willed her way across the finish line on her hands and knees.

Hyvon Ngetich Crawls To Finish Line

Ngetich’s body gave out on her with two-tenths of a mile left in the 26.2 mile race while she was leading the competition. Though medical personnel offered her a wheelchair, the lifelong runner insisted on finishing the race on her own, crawling on the pavement towards the end of the race, reported CNN. With just two meters left to crawl to earn a second-place finish, Ngetich was bypassed by Hannah Steffan.

Austin Marathon race director John Conley, impressed with Ngetich’s gritty perseverance, rewarded Ngetich with the prize money of a second-place finisher.

“What we saw was a champion,” Conley said after the race. “The toughest person on the planet.”

He told the runner, “You ran the bravest race and crawled the bravest crawl I have ever seen in my life. You have earned much honor.”

As for Ngetich, grateful for the increased prize, admits that she can’t remember collapsing in the final stretch, or completing it in a slow but steady crawl.

“I can’t remember what happened, and I didn’t see the finish line,” she said. “I don’t remember all that crawling or whatever … even the collapsing I don’t remember.”

Ngetich added, “Running, always you have to keep going, going.”