Sportsmanship is winner in dramatic end to cross-country race

Hometown Heroes

“The race is not given to the swift or to the strong,” Ecclesiastes 9:11 tells us, “but to the one who endures to the end.”

Brandon Schutt, a senior cross-country runner for Bellevue High School in Nebraska, endured to the end, and he went the extra proverbial mile to ensure that a competitor also endured.

Schutt is this week’s Hometown Hero.

At a Nebraska high school district final meet in Lincoln on Oct. 14, Schutt came upon Omaha Burke High School runner Blake Cerveny, who had collapsed just short of the finish line. Rather than simply running past Cerveny, Schutt picked up the fallen competitor and helped pull him across the finish line. Schutt dropped three spots in the race’s final standings, but he gained the respect of friends and foes alike.

Schutt’s show of sportsmanship was inspired in part by his own experience of the agony of defeat.

“That’s happened to me before,” Schutt told NewsNation Prime. “A month prior to that, I was running a race. I had 100 meters to go and I just collapsed at the end. So I know how it feels. When I saw him on the ground, I knew what I had to do: I picked him up and did whatever it took to get him to the finish line.”

Footage of Schutt’s act of kindness drew media attention but exploded on social media.

“My teammates, we actually went to play Frisbee right after it happened,”Schutt said. “And it just started to blow up while we were playing Frisbee. So we went to go check my phone and it was all over Twitter. That was really cool.

“The next day, pretty much all my teachers talked to me about it in front of class. It was pretty cool.”

Given some time to reflect, the reaction to the end of the race gives Schutt pause.

“It’s kind of overwhelming,” he said. “It’s starting to sink in now about what actually happened and how many people are gravitating toward this. But I think it’s pretty exciting and pretty cool.”

Though Schutt did not get a chance to talk with Cerveny after the race, he has since talked with him and the two have even gone running together.

And Schutt’s take-away from his close encounter with a rival runner?

“Even if it’s an individual sport, you’re still in this together with your teammates and your opponents,” Schutt said.

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