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Utah marathon runner who was limping with pain finishes race with help from prisoner on work release

Utah marathon runner who was limping with pain finishes race with help from prisoner on work release

Utah marathon runner who was limping with pain finishes race with help from prisoner on work release.
Utah marathon runner who was limping with pain finishes race with help from prisoner on work release. Courtesy of Elizabeth Ashby.

A marathon runner, who was limping in pain trying to finish a recent race, ended up getting helped across the finish line by an unexpected stranger – a prisoner on work release.

Runner, Carrie Kelley, said she had just knocked down the first few miles of the Beaver Creek Marathon in Salt Lake City, Utah, when various ailments caught up with her and left her limping in pain, she posted to a runner’s Facebook group.

Carrie Kelley and Fidel Ybarra finish the Beaver Creek Marathon.
Carrie Kelley and Fidel Ybarra finish the Beaver Creek Marathon. Courtesy of Elizabeth Ashby.

“Then about mile 4, I heard talking and someone running behind me. Who could be slower than me? It turned out to be a prisoner out on work release,” Kelley wrote in the Run4fun Facebook group.

Fidel Ybarra, a prisoner on work release, was among several inmates helping with operations for the marathon, when he decided he wanted to go the extra mile (pun intended) and help Kelley finish.

“The lovely Fidel saw that I needed help and came to run by my side for the remainder of the race,” she wrote.

In It For The Long Run

The kind stranger provided support to Kelley for the last 22 miles of the 26.2-mile race.

“During this 22 miles, we talked, encouraged each other through the hot sun & crazy, steep canyon & joked with the sheriffs,” Kelley wrote. “Without his help, I wouldn’t have been able to finish.”

Carrie Kelley and Fidel Ybarra finish the Beaver Creek Marathon.
Carrie Kelley and Fidel Ybarra finish the Beaver Creek Marathon. Courtesy of Elizabeth Ashby.

Ybarra later gave a statement recounting his memory of the race, which was shared by the Utah Department of Corrections, stating:
“I am not sure why I began running with her, but I think maybe I saw a little bit of myself and other inmates in the situation,” Ybarra wrote. “We are normally left at the back and left to our own devices.”

“I could tell how much she enjoyed running, and I felt like I could not let her finish the marathon alone,” he wrote. “I did not know that once I started running, 22 miles later we would cross the finish line. I could have stopped and jumped in the work van with the deputy that was following us, but something kept me going. I feel like by the end I was in more pain than her, but the feeling of accomplishment was more than I can describe in words.”

Beaver Creek Marathon director, Amy Albrecht, chimed in and told local outlet, KSL, that at the race’s finish line, “Watching the two of them cross together had everyone in tears.”

Carrie Kelley and Fidel Ybarra finish the Beaver Creek Marathon.
Carrie Kelley and Fidel Ybarra finish the Beaver Creek Marathon holding hands in the air. Courtesy of Elizabeth Ashby.

Kelley, impressed at Ybarra’s ability to finish the race with little prep or training said: “I am so impressed with this good man and his willingness to go out of his way to help me.”

Sometimes, we end up getting help from the most unsuspecting sources. It’s in moments like these, that we learn to not always judge a person based on his or her past, but what they can do to brighten the future.


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