High School Runner Helps Fallen Competitor Then Gets Disqualified

By kncipat on November 13, 2020
Photo by Randy Allen/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Indiana High School runner Ben Boardley was disqualified in the state’s cross country meet. The reason may make you spill your coffee.

Ben entered Saturday’s state meet knowing there was little to no chance at getting an athletic scholarship to college but maybe, just maybe if he ran well some school would notice. As he came within sight of the finish line Ben knew his time would be good but in jeopardy of not being good enough.. That’s when Ben noticed something else. Another runner had fallen. It was Bredeuf Jesuit’s Faizan Khan. Instead of running past him Ben stopped to help Khan up. He then finished the race disappointed in his time. No colleges would come calling. Ben knew that. What he didn’t know was that someone captured that magical moment. The moment where Ben’s instincts kicked in. Where everything his parents had taught him, to be kind, to look for opportunities to help, kicked in. The video was posted on twitter and immediately blew up. While that was happening Ben found something else out. Among the thousands to see the video were the cross country race officials. According to state rule 4-6-5 a runner can be disqualified for assisting another runner. Ben had been disqualified. At that point Ben thought it really didn’t matter. Stopping to help Khan had slowed Ben down to the point where out of 207 runners he had finished 189th.  Kahn had finished 193rd coming in 8 seconds behind Ben.

Asked about the race Ben said he did what he thought and felt was right. “I guess that’s how my parents raised me.”

Besides doing the right thing there is good news. Ben, who goes to Boardley High School in Indiana, ranks 6th in his class academically. That was good enough for a couple of colleges who were at the race to reach out to him. And he has a new friend for life in the runner he assisted, Faizan Khan. Khan said, “At the end of the race, that’s when your true priorities show. I know what Ben’s priorities are. And what his true character is like.”

And one more thing. Upon further review race officials decided that Ben would not be disqualified. To see Ben help Faizan Khan to his feet head here