An Indiana high school cross-country runner is being heralded for his nearly illegal sportsmanship after helping a competitor who fell down near the finish line of a race. Ben Boardley saw fellow runner Faizan Khan stumble as they were approaching the end of the meet at Terre Haute, Ind., and Boardley briefly stopped running to pull Khan up by his left arm to get the Brebeuf Jesuit competitor back on his feet.
Khan was having trouble finishing the race because of allergies.
"I just kind of saw it and did it," Boardley said Monday, per the Indianapolis Star. "I guess that's how my parents raised me. They taught me to treat others how I'd want to be treated, and to be helpful when I can."
Video of the moment was captured and posted online, where Boardley's kindness gained him even more fame.
But while most individuals would see this as an inspiring act of one person helping someone, the Indiana High School Athletic Association's rulebook sees a violation. Assisting a fellow runner is worthy of a disqualification if either participant in the act of sportsmanship gains an advantage for their team from the help.
The good news is that there is a failsafe to this because of where the two runners were. First, here's the specific rule, which is NFHS Rule 4-6-5, according to the Indianapolis Star:
"A competitor who provides assistance to an injured or ill competitor should not be disqualified if neither the individual competitor providing the assistance nor his/her team gains an advantage as a result of providing the assistance."
Neither Khan nor Boardley were in their team's scoring five for the race, so where they finished was more about personal pride than helping their respective teams at the meet. Boardley finished 189th out of 207 runners and Khan finished 193rd.
What also probably helps is that it seems like Boardley truly made an impact with ensuring that Khan finishes at the state cross country meet. Khan's allergies gave him trouble during the race, which caused serious breathing problems in the final stretch -- he even told Boardley, "Go finish, I can't" when his fellow competitor tried to help him. He couldn't stand for an hour after the end of the race.
Despite what the rulebook says, Khan was grateful for what Boardley did for him.
"At the end of the race, that's when your true priorities show," Khan said. "I know what Ben's priorities are. And what his true character is like."