Determination - Timeout

John Stephen Akhwari

The story goes back to October 1968 when the first Olympic Games were being staged in Latin America. It was one of the hottest Sunday afternoons in Mexico City when the men’s marathon started at 3:00 p.m. local time.

Out of 74 participants 17 could not finish the race. At 7p.m. it was almost an hour since all marathon runners had crossed the finishing line of the 26 mile Olympic marathon in the grueling hot day; suddenly a lone runner wearing the colors of Tanzania emerged through the stadium gate literally hobbling. The event left the last few thousand audiences amazed with what they experienced next – the man that emerged was John Stephen Akhwari who while running had fallen down and badly hurt himself. He was bleeding and his knee had been dislocated from the joint.

Considering the severity of his injuries Akhwari was repeatedly asked to quit the race but he denied. He fell, dragged himself, ran in between but finished the marathon limping over the line. On the finishing line he received a huge applause and almighty cheers from the little crowd. His body was exhausted but not his spirit; his competitors passed him one by one, nonetheless, his determination rewarded him even when he was in tremendous pain. Akhwari never won any Olympic gold medal but he became the greatest example of never-give-up spirit and a tale of courage.

When he was asked the reason of doing such a kind of crazy act he replied, “My country did not send me 10,000 miles just to start the race; they sent me to finish the race.”

In the marathon, 17 of the 74 participants did not finish.

What did John Akhwari possess that the other 17 did not?

What motivated him to finish the race?

Where does your motivation come from?