October 2017 Fair Play At Its Best
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During a Minnesota high school sectional cross country meet at the end of last year, eighth-grader Gracie Bucher felt herself struggling to keep pace. Her legs and chest felt heavy. She continued to run, but as she approached the finish line, she collapsed. She tried to get up, but fell again. Her Mom watched from the sideline in complete agony, but was told she wasn't allowed to assist her. And that's when fellow runner Liana Blomgren came to help.
Knowing she would be disqualified if she helped Bucher, Blomgren didn't hesitate and picked her up and ran with her to the finish line. Both were disqualified -- especially tough for Blomgren as a senior running her last race -- but clearly they are both winners for their perseverance and sportsmanship. Bucher was taken to the emergency room after the race and diagnosed with mononucleosis. The next day, Bucher sent Blomgren flowers at school with a note that read, "Thank you for being my angel." As a result Minnesota and other states thankfully changed the rule about automatically disqualifying runners from helping other runners. Starting with the 2017 season, a runner is free to stop and help with no repercussions if a medical care provider is not available.