Two Minnesota cross country runners were disqualified from the state cross country meet for performing what can only be considered the absolute peak of sportsmanship: They helped a fallen opponent cross the finish line.
As reported by Mankato Minnesota CBS affiliate KEYC and the Associated Press, among other outlets, Esko senior cross country runner Kailee Kiminski and Janesville junior Tierney Winter both forfeited their own results in the Minnesota state cross country meet so that they could help freshman runner Jessica Christoffer cross the finish line. Christoffer, a Jackson County Central runner, had fallen short of the finish line and was struggling to get back to her feet when she was lifted up by Kiminski and Winter, who ensured that the first year runner finished the final 50 meters of the race.
All three runners were disqualified for the good deed because of a Minnesota High School League rule that stipulates runners may not aid competitors in a race. A race official even warned the three runners that they would all be disqualified as Christoffer was being helped to her feet. The warnings didn’t stop Kiminski or Winter from making sure Christoffer made it across on her own feet.
There was no flexibility in the MHSL regulation, so the trio had no ch0ice but to accept a forfeit of their official standings. Not that Kiminski or Winter would have changed what they did.
“(I was just being)a friend of a runner,” Winter told the AP.
“The girl that fell, looked tired and I just didn’t even think about it twice,” Kiminski told ABC affiliate WDIO. “I just went up to her. I just wanted to help her. I didn’t want them to finish alone and it’s much more then just a cross country race. It’s much more then that. It’s important to help others.”