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Police officer helps marathoner finish race after a hard fall at the final mile

Posted at 7:53 AM, Nov 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-09 08:57:56-05

SAVANNAH, Georgia -- Robert McCoy struggled at the end of the Rock 'N' Roll Marathon over the weekend in Savannah. The runner tripped and fell as he approached the finish line. He was just one mile away when he went down. Sergeant John Cain, with the Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Department, was standing next to the course when it happened and saw the whole thing.

"I saw this one runner as he was approaching the intersection," said Sergeant Cain, "he fell face first right into the street."

The impact left McCoy with a bloody nose and several cuts and bruises. McCoy, though, was unfazed -- he was determined to finish the marathon. Yet, his body seemed unwilling to go the last mile. He tried several times to get back up, but couldn't.

"While he was on the ground, he kept saying he had to finish the race. He had to finish the race," said Cain. "My heart just bled for him."

That's when Cain decided he needed to help.

"I felt the need to help him finish this race so bad. I would've carried him to the finish line if I had to," Cain said.

The officer jumped onto the race course and, joined by the arm with McCoy, the two ran the final mile of the race. Together, they crossed the finish line.

"For that moment, it was a real connection between us that we were going to finish a goal," Cain said.

A local tourism official was there as the two crossed the line. She snapped a photo as they finished the race. The photo has since been shared thousands of times on social media.

For Sergeant Cain, the photo is a testament to the good things members of law enforcement do -- which sometimes go unnoticed.

"If a pic is worth a thousand words, then the few words that can be spoken about this picture speaks volume about all law enforcement who do exactly what I did and are never recognized."

McCoy's gratitude was evident on social media. He posted on his Facebook page that he wanted to give his marathon finisher's medal to Sergeant Cain.

"You could honestly feel the thankfulness coming from him that someone stopped and helped him complete that task, and to me, that was reward enough."

Race officials had to divert runners later in the morning because of unseasonably high temperatures. One runner died while taking part in the event.