A Kenyan athlete was already a few meters away from a sure win at the finish line, but the runner lost the race when he stopped to help a rival who collapsed on the track. The two finished together but he lost the race, yet he won hearts that day!
Simon Cheprot, a champion runner who won the 2016 Okpekpe Race champion and finished second at the same race in 2018 was the strongest contender for the 2019 edition of the IAAF Silver Label Okpekpe International 10-kilometer race in Nigeria.
Starting out strong and steadily keeping his pace throughout the race, Simon was set to become the first man to win two Okpekpe titles since 2013, but this dream was broken when he stopped to help a rival just a few meters away from the finish line.
Kenneth Kipkemoi had collapsed and would have lost the entire race if he didn’t make it to the finish line. Knowing the hard work and efforts his rival did to train for the race; thus, even if it meant he would lose his chance to win, Simon stopped and assisted Kenneth to the finish line.
Photo credit: Mwakilishi
Of course, Kenneth would have survived the race as there were medics about, yet the runner’s hard work would come to nothing if he didn’t reach the finish line. Thanks to Simon’s help, he reached the goal; though both runners didn’t get any medals for the race.
But even if he lost, Simon does not regret anything.
“Running is not war; running brings peace, unity, and friendship. My dad told me one day, ‘When you’re walking and you meet a sick person on the road, help him; do not leave him’, so that was the first thing that came to my mind when I saw my friend on the ground,” Simon shared.
Indeed, Simon lost the race but he won the hearts of so many people that he would soon receive a handsome reward to the tune of $15,000!
Race promoter Mike Itemuagbor announced:
“Simon (Cheprot) may not have fulfilled his ambition of becoming the first athlete (man or woman) to win two Okpekpe titles since 2013 when we began this race, but he came to Okpekpe this year, ran and left as the hero. He did not win any medals but he won hearts.
While running, his colleague collapsed and on instinct, Simon picked him up; held tight to him and lifted him. That ended his race. But he saved a life. In 2016, Simon came first at Okpekpe; was second last year. Now, in 2019, he won HEARTS: One of our partners gave him $2,000, former Edo state governor, Adams Oshiomole added $3,000 before Edo state’s deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu increased the reward from $5000 to $10,000 with an additional $5000. But most of all, everybody hailed his “brother’s keeper” attitude.”
Congratulations, Simon! You show us the true meaning of sportsmanship…