"Akhwari finished in 3:25:27, more than an hour after the winner, when there were only a few thousand people left in the Olympic Stadium and the sun had set. 17 of the 74 competitors in the marathon that day did not finish the race. John Stephen Akhwari, bloodied and injured, was not one of them."
When asked why he continued running, Akhwari simply replied "My country did not send me to 5,000 miles to Mexico City to start the race. They sent me 5,000 miles to finish the race."
While we would never suggest competing while injured and risking long-term damage to your body (in fact we would very much advise against it), we feel that Akhwari's sentiments, and his determination to finish, embody the Olympic ideal. Be inspired to finish your 'race' today, no matter what it is.
Akhwari recovered from his injury, and went on to compete for a further 10 years. He finished fifth in the 1970 Commonwealth Games marathon. What a hero!
|The Olympic Stadium in Mexico City as it stands today. It must surely have been a welcome sight for Akhwari in 1968|