Triathlete training buddies Joseph McGinty and Bryan Crnkovic were about 100 yards from finishing Sunday's Love Run Half Marathon when another runner in front of them began to falter.
"Her legs were buckling and she was about to fall," said Crnkovic, 45, of Drexel Hill. He reached over and grabbed the woman under the arm, as another unidentified competitor grabbed her other arm.
For a while it appeared their help would be enough, but then the woman's knees buckled with just a short distance left to go and she began to collapse to the ground.
McGinty, 31, who was on Crnkovic's right when they first passed the fallen runner and at first didn't see what was going on, looked over his shoulder for his friend.
"I turned around and saw how bad she was," said McGinty said, a UPS driver and father of two from South Philadelphia. He turned and walked back.
"I picked her up and said 'Let's go,' " said McGinty. He carried her the last stretch, then put her down "so she would cross the finish line herself."
It was all caught on camera. The video has been viewed about 7.9 million times.
— FOX 29 (@FOX29philly) March 27, 2017
McGinty and Crnkovic made sure the woman was attended to after they all crossed the finish line, and then they moved on.
"That’s who we are — that is how the community is," said McGinty, who was surprised by all the attention the incident has received. Runners always encourage others along the way, he said. "It is almost second nature."
Ditto, said Crnkovic.
"It is common in the running community," said Crnkovic, the father of five girls and co-owner of Full Range Physical Therapy and Rehab Services. "If someone is down, you try to get them motivated and get them going."
The two friends were using the race as a training run. Crnkovic crossed the line in 1:59:23, McGinty finished in 1:59:28. Both have more challenging races coming up, they said.
Since the FOX 29 video hit social media, the two have been inundated with calls, texts, and Facebook posts from friends and family. They appeared on Good Day Philadelphia on Monday.
"My phone has not stopped ringing since about 6 o'clock last night," said McGinty.
"He is not a bystander, he is an upstander," said his wife Christal Gallelli-McGinty, 33. "The [Facebook] comments are so heartwarming, it makes me so proud."
About 8,500 runners finished the run, said race director Michele Redrow.
"It is just one of those spontaneous, incredible moments which makes running so phenomenal," said Redrow.
This was the fourth year for the Love Run. In the past, drama at the finish line has included a marriage proposal, she said.
"That has usually been the status quo," said Redrow, adding they didn't see any proposals this year since all eyes were on the woman being carried across the finish line. "She stole their limelight."