(Editor’s note: Rocky Mountain College media release)
GULF SHORES, Ala. – Rocky Mountain College’s George Beddow finished the marathon race at the 2019 NAIA Outdoor Track and Field Championships as an all-American Saturday.
Battling the Alabama heat and humidity, Beddow collapsed in sight of the finish line. He rose unsteadily to his feet, ran a few more steps, and collapsed again.
“Just standing and watching the race, everybody was drenched in sweat,” said head track and field coach Mike McLean. “Kids were dropping out of the race due to the heat and needing help.”
Beddow lay on the ground less than 50 meters from the end as the crowd of onlookers began to encourage him on. It took a few moments, but he struggled to his feet and limped the last stretch to the finish line. Earning his first all-American selection, Beddow placed in sixth on a time of 2 hours, 44 minutes, 29.95 seconds.
“I’ve never witnessed someone push themselves that hard before,” said assistant track and field coach Mackenzie O’Dore. “He showed up and never gave up. He pushed himself to the limit and should be proud.”
Like many of the runners competing in the race, tournament personnel covered him in cold towels and administered fluids through an IV.
“He’s got the gifts,” said McLean. “He works hard. We are very proud of him.”
On the women’s side, both Carina Bracy and Mei-Li Stevens finished the marathon, as well. The two paced each other slowly at the back of the race in the beginning, but moved up as runners began to drop out. Bracy finished in 18th in a time of 3:35:05.98. Stevens finished in 23rd in 3:39:04.54. Only 39 runners were able to the complete the race.
Later in the day, Ruth Chepsat earned a 10th-place finish in the 1,500-meter run in a time of 4:48.34. It was her first trip to NAIA nationals. Chepsat qualified for the race after breaking the school record in the 1,500 with a time of 4:38.77
Elsewhere, Joseph Vanden Bos finished the first round of the men’s 800-meter run in 19th Friday afternoon. The freshman ran a time of 1:55.36. While he did not advance to Saturday’s finals, Vanden Bos was already selected as an all-American earlier this year as part of Rocky’s seventh-place distance medley indoor track team.