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Last Place Runner Refuses to Quit Despite Torrential Rain, Wins Hearts & Inspires the World (WATCH)
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Last Place Runner Refuses to Quit Despite Torrential Rain, Wins Hearts & Inspires the World (WATCH)

Nothing was going to stop Cambodia's Bou Samnang from finishing the women's 5,000-metre race...

Resilience is a feeling, not a win-loss record.

Cambodian runner, Bou Samnang, knew she had zero chance of winning. In fact, she had zero chance of beating anybody.


It was the women’s 5,000m final at the Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh.

Samnang, a full 6 minutes behind the first-place winner, had already lost. Every single one of her competitors had crossed the finish line.

She was dead last.

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To make matters worse, the skies had opened, unleashing a torrential downpour.

Soaking wet and pelted by heavy rain, she could have just walked away. No one would have blamed her.

Instead, she ran.

And her inspirational underdog story is taking the internet by storm.

Why the Cambodian Runner Refused to Give Up

Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

Samnang wasn't just running for herself. She was running for her country.

"I knew I was losing. The rain was so heavy," Samnang told the Agence France-Presse. "I had the right to abandon the race, but first I have a duty to represent Cambodia. So I did not give up."

In an extraordinary display of resilience, Samnang ran. Despite struggling with the exhaustive effects of anemia, she ran. Despite fatigue, bad weather, and being in last place, she ran.

And she kept running, a lone figure on an otherwise empty, flooded track.

As the rain-soaked Samnang neared the finish line, the sounds of cheers and applause from the crowd quickly drowned out the thundering of the rain. She finished the race in a time of 22 minutes and 54 seconds.

Fighting back tears, she clasped her hands in thanks to the spectators and waved the Cambodian flag in an emotional nod to her country.

The International Olympic Committee, who had representatives at the event, shared footage of her inspirational battle to the finish line on social media, where it quickly when viral garnering over 700,000 views.

Take a look and try not to cry:

Cambodian Runner May Have Finished Last But She Still Ran Away With a Prize

Those watching the event unfold weren't the only ones impressed by Samnang's grit and determination, the Prime Minister of Cambodia was too.

After the race, Prime Minister Hun Sen awarded her $10,000 "for her determination."

In a statement to the press, he announced:

"The interesting thing is that Bou Samnang ran under the rain until the end, even though she was not ranked. To encourage her for her determination, my wife and I would like to contribute $10,000." 

To put it in perspective, the average worker in Cambodia earns about $10 a day. She plans to use the money to pay off her mother's debts.

The King of Cambodia also praised the young athlete, saying “Sport is more than winning and losing.”

It's All About How You Make the Journey

Although Samnang may not have claimed the title of "victor" in the traditional sense, she was a champion nonetheless. Her unwavering determination to never give up in the face of adversity is truly inspiring.

In a world where success is often measured by podium finishes and records, this underdog reminds us that the true essence of victory lies not in how we finish, but in how we make the journey.

"I tried to reach the finish line because I wanted to show people that in life, even though we go a bit slow or fast, we will reach our destination all the same," Samnang said. "So we should not give up. We should try our best."

At a time when she could have just quit, this Cambodian runner chose to keep going. And in the end, she proved that she is the real winner.

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