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Teenage runner loses winning title for helping competitor who was injured during race

By Mason White 1:03 PM October 30, 2015
Runners illustration 

By: Tanya Malhotra
A young man won a race after he was the first at the finish line.

However, as he was walking back to his team’s camp, he spotted his competitor lying on the race track in pain.

When Zach Hougland, 17, of Columbus, Iowa, saw that nobody was assisting the injured teen, he decided to do so. However, his actions cost him the title as it is against the rules to help other runners.

Garrett Hinson was just 50 feet from the finish line when he collapsed, but no one seemed to care. That is except for Hougland.

He could have simply ignored his competitor and enjoy his victory. Instead, Hougland chose to do the right thing and help the injured teen.

As a result, both teens were disqualified as the Iowa High School Athletic Association guidelines states that “no runner can help or receive help from others.”

Hougland, his coaches and fans were understandably upset. Hinson thanked Hougland, and gave him a hug.

Scott Spurgeon wrote on Twitter: “I saw a beautiful act of sportsmanship at district cross country tonight. Unfortunately, the young man was disqualified for his selfless act.”