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From WTF Facts

Image from facebook

A Kenyan elite runner passes water to a dehydrated disabled Chinese runner who was suffering. This slowed her time. She came in 2nd in the race not only costing her the win but also the $10,000 cash prize. It's not all about winning.

A blog post called What It’s All About said the following:

During the 2010 Zheng-Kai marathon Jacqueline Nyetipei Kiplimo from Kenya saw a Chinese elite disable athlete struggling to drink water. She ran with him from the 10km to the 38km mark aiding him through all the water stations. This slowed her time — she came in 2nd in the race — not only costing her the win but also the $10,000 cash prize.

Wikipedia has a paragraph on the marathon, so I think the marathon itself exists.

I came across a unrelated news article about Jacqueline Nyetipei Kiplimo, so she also is real. I don't know if she's the same person as the person in the photograph.

I came across http://www.malimwengu.com/africa/sports/i-have-never-regretted-helping-the-man-i-did-it-to-touch-someone-s-heart , but I don't think it's a reliable source.

Did this incident happen?

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    Jacquline Nyetipei finished 2nd in the 2010 Zheng-Kai marathon, race number matches too - zkmarathon.com/race/news.asp?ClassID=242 – Tom77 Sep 19 '13 at 13:16
  • @Tom77 's reference clarifies that she came in 2nd among the women runners (without which, I had found the story less plausible: that she came in as high as 2nd even after holding back for 28km). – ChrisW Sep 19 '13 at 14:32
  • video interview w/ her about that day ... youtube.com/watch?v=fQOmP8bNjqw – user22265 Sep 27 '14 at 18:22
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This incident did happen.

The Kenyan newspaper The People has an article on the incident here.

The website for the Zheng-Kai marathon also confirms most of the story. The results of the 2010 race show that Jacquline Nyetipei finished 2nd. The time for the split shows the first 5 women together. This suggests that she did indeed have a good chance of winning the race. There are also 2 photos of her with the disabled runner.

I wasn't able to find a figure for the prize money for the 2010 race, but the 2013 prize for first woman was $15,000 so a figure of $10,000 is plausible.

  • 1
    There are however two factual errors in the article in "The people". She claims to have been leading at the 10km mark and that the weather was hot and humid. According to the data from the ZK Marathon home page, there were 5 women within one second apart at the 10km mark and the weather was relatively mild and dry (14°C, 40-50% humidity). – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Sep 23 '13 at 17:14
  • @Tor-EinarJarnbjo: I don't think you can count the first one as an error. She may still have been in the lead, if only by one or two metres. – TonyK Sep 19 '16 at 17:08
  • @Tor-EinarJarnbjo For a marathon (honestly, probably also for a half-marathon), 14°C is hotter than most runners would want. For walking outside, doing chores, etc., it's fine, but for long-distance running, that's a bit hot - and 40-50% humidity isn't that low, either. – HDE 226868 Jun 26 at 19:31

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