Man falls 650 feet from NYC Marathon finish line, carried across by other runners

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Monday, November 8, 2021
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New video shows a heartwarming moment at the finish line of the TCS New York City Marathon.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New video shows a heartwarming moment at the finish line of the TCS New York City Marathon.

A TikTok user captured two runners who stopped to help a runner who couldn't make it any farther.

It happened just 650 feet from the finish line.

They picked him up and helped him make it across, with the crowd cheering the trio on the whole way.

Andie Kent is the one who captured the now viral moment.

"I hit the record button, and here we are," she said. "I was like, this is humanity at its finest, a moment I haven't seen in awhile, and I just thought people deserve to see this."

Jamel Melville was the runner, and he said it is a moment he will never forget. When he was down, strangers lifted him up.

"One runner passed by on the left, looked back to his right, where (I) was," he said. "And he made a decision to help me."

Originally from Queens, Melville now lives in California and recently ran the Long Beach Marathon. Still, he felt strong Sunday and was hitting a roughly 8 minute mile pace.

He started struggling, however, around mile 22. Thankfully, the good Samaritans were there to help him finish -- and offer a reminder of why the marathon is such an extraordinary event in New York City.

"They said, 'Come on,' looked in my eyes, and they told me what to do without saying a word," Melville said.

He said the crowd also help lift him up.

"I'm going down and coming up, going down and coming up, they are there to help me," he said. "I'm just trying to make it happen."

Runner Craig Astreicher ran on Melville's left, with another on his right. Others stopped to help as well.

Astreicher said one reason he stopped had to do with what happened to him two years ago at the very same marathon.

"At mile 18 I had to pull out because of an injury, I know what it's like to not finish," he said.

Melville crossed the finish line in 3 hours, 34 minutes, and 6 seconds -- and he plans to run again next year, drawing inspiration from that special moment in Central Park.

"Tremendous respect for those guys," Melville said. "I want to talk with them, establish a dialogue with them, let then know I appreciate that."

Many say this year's marathon is symbolic of the city's perseverance and resiliency, getting to 50 years and crossing the finish line after battling back from what wasn't possible last year.

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