Police officer helps 15-year-old finish LA Marathon


LOS ANGELES — Running a marathon is a feat of endurance for anyone, let alone a 15-year-old, and sometimes you need help crossing the finish line.

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Leobardo Dorado, 15, was among the more than 20,000 runners at the Los Angeles Marathon last weekend and made it all the way to 26 miles. He had just two-tenths of a mile left in the race when he collapsed, KNBC reported.

Luckily Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Jay Balgemino was on duty.

Leobardo was checked out by a medic and first responders who called his mother, thanks to the contact information listed on his race bib.

Once paramedics were done evaluating him, Leobardo had one question.

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“The first thing he asked, ‘Did I finish?’” Balgemino told KNBC. “So, the mom looked at me and I said, ‘Well, you really didn’t finish, but if you want to finish, I can help him.’ He said, ‘I want to finish.’”

Leobardo was carried over the finish line with Balgemino’s and one other person’s help, KABC reported. The sergeant said that he originally wanted Leobardo to finish under his own power but the teen’s “legs just gave out” so he carried him over the line.

“It’s a great story and a reminder for anyone, too — if you really want it, you can do this. Anyone can finish a marathon. You just have to have that heart and the willingness to get there,” the race’s senior director of operations Stacy Embretson told KNBC.He still had 400 meters to go, but just that willingness and that strength that he had to find deep within himself was amazing and very inspiring.”

As for Balgemino, KABC reported that he is considering running the race next year.

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