73-Year Old Runner Takes Spill But Finishes Half-Marathon with A Little Help
Nothing was going to stop 73-year old John Wilkie from finishing the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Half Marathon last weekend, and just in case he needed a little help, it was there for him in the form of two strangers.
Wilkie, a grandfather of 10 and great-grandfather of four, was less than a half mile from the finish line when he accidentally tripped over a spectator’s stroller. He cut up his knees a bit and had blood dripping down his face from a cut on his forehead, but that wasn’t going to stop him.
“Blood be damned – I was that close to the finish line,” Wilkie said afterwards. “I didn’t want to stop and give up, and I didn’t want to lay there either. I wanted to get up and finish the race no matter what it took, and was going to do it one way or another.”
Before Wilkie could even attempt to get up on his own, Nathanael Dillard, a fellow runner, and Colin Jackson, who was watching the race, rushed to his side to help him off the ground and get across the finish line.
“I didn’t know if he had a concussion or cracked his skull,” Dillard describes. “There was blood everywhere.”
Dillard and Jackson got Wilkie off the pavement, hooked their arms around him, and made sure they didn’t let go until he finished the race on his own two feet.
“I was pretty stunned when I hit the ground,” Wilkie said. “Fortunately, those two fellows were there in nothing flat to pick me up. I guess the good Lord was looking out for me. Those two angels came out of nowhere.”
After the race, the eighth half-marathon he’s completed, Wilkie received five stitches to close the gash on his forehead. But one little trip isn’t going to stop him from continuing to run races.
“That’s the way life is,” says Wilkie. “Every now and then you have a hurdle you have to face and overcome. You’ve got to get up and run some more.”