When Madeline Adams got ready for the ACC Women’s Cross Country Championship she had no idea that the race would change her outlook on life forever.

Her shoes were tied, her hair was pulled back and she felt as confident as ever. Unfortunately, Madeline’s body wasn’t on the same page as her mind….

Madeline started off the race extremely strong and was nearing the finish line when she felt something change in her physical endurance.

The young runner shared what happened next with CBS News:

“I was running the race of my life. I was doing incredibly well. I was coming up that hill (to the finish line), I started to feel really fatigued. All of a sudden, I get this wave that comes over me and my legs just truly gave out from underneath me. I had no control. I really don’t remember falling, I remember being on the ground and being like, ‘why am I on the ground? Get up.'”
A pang of exhaustion hit Madeline and she couldn’t go on any further. She collapsed onto the ground and tried to regain her footing, but it just was too much work for her fatigued limbs.

Runner after runner passed by as she watched the race slip between her fingers.

One amazing young lady, a runner named Evie Tate from Clemson, stopped by Madeline’s side and tried to pick her up – but carrying Madeline’s dead weight alone was nearly impossible. That’s when a second runner, Rachel Pease from Louisville, pulled Madeline’s other arm over her shoulder and the pair attempted to help her cross the finish line together.

In the interview with CBS News, Madeline thanked the girls and sang their praises:

“The great part that comes out of this is there are two amazing girls that helped me, who are completely selfless and just amazing people with amazing character.”
Sadly, Madeline wasn’t able to cross the finish line that day. She was quickly whisked away by medical staff and treated for her exhaustion – but she’s not discouraged from the outcome.

Madeline says she knows this is the hardest race she’ll ever have to run!

It’s people like Evie and Rachel who prove sportsmanship is more important than a trophy or ribbon! We need more people like them in the world.