Watch LAPD Officer Help Carry Runner Across Marathon Finish Line

March 21, 2024
Stationed near the end of the Los Angeles Marathon, LAPD Sgt. Jay Balgemino helped a teen achieve his goal of completing the race after the runner passed out right before the finish line.

An LAPD officer helped a teen achieve his goal of finishing the Los Angeles Marathon by carrying the runner to the finish line after young man passed out just before the end.

LAPD Sgt. Jay Balgemino was working roughly a half-mile from the finish line of Sunday's Los Angeles Marathon when he saw Leobardo Dorado, 15, lose consciousness with only 400 meters left on the route, KNBC-TV reports. Balegemino quickly went to help, and after medics treated him, Leobardo had only one thing on his mind despite his body's protests.

"The first thing he asked was, 'Did I finish?' So me and his sister kind of guided him towards the path to see if he could finish it," Balgemino told KABC-TV. "Towards the end, I wanted him to do it on his own, so he can cross the finish line on his own. But his legs just gave out, so I just carried him and took him to the finish line."

Video footage from someone in the crowd captured Balgemino helping the teen runner finish the final leg of the event. 

"He was so happy. He was really happy that he finished," said Balgemino.

While Leobardo declined interviews, his mother, Rosio Berumen, did release a statement.

“We are very proud of Leobardo Dorado," she saod. "It’s his second marathon, and we are very appreciative of the people that helped him."

Although he needed help at the end, the teen's determination and resilience has Balgemino thinking about participating in next year's marathon. He also had encouragement and praise for the young runner's efforts.

"If you could hear me, I'll say, 'Good job. I'm proud of you, and you're my inspiration," said Balgemino.

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