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Runner praised for helping legally blind competitor who fell

In this Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018 photo provided by Karen Wylie, Cazenovia High School sophomore Jake Tobin, left, helps Fairport High School senior Luke Fortner, center, during a cross country race in Auburn, N.Y. Fortner, who is legally blind, fell towards the end of the race but was assisted by Tobin, and Jerry Thompson, right, his running aide. The three then crossed the finish line together. (Karen Wylie via AP)

AUBURN, N.Y. (AP) — A New York high school cross-country athlete is being praised for stopping to help a vision-impaired runner who fell as they neared the finish line.

Syracuse.com reports that Cazenovia High School sophomore Jake Tobin only had about 320 yards (290 meters) to go in the boys junior varsity race during Saturday’s race when Fairport High School senior Luke Fortner passed him.

Fortner is legally blind. He slipped and fell on a hill. Tobin stopped, put his arms around Fortner and lifted him up as Jerry Thompson, the aide who accompanied Fortner during the race, also provided help.

Fortner and Thompson crossed the finish line 2 seconds ahead of Tobin.

Photos taken by a spectator show Tobin and the aide helping Fortner up the hill.

Fortner’s coach described Tobin’s actions “an awesome display of sportsmanship and kindness.”

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This story has been updated to correct that that the blind runner and aide finished 2 seconds ahead of the helpful competitor, not at the same time.

Copyright © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.



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