Act of kindness: Competitor helps to lift up his fellow runner


    It's an act of kindness that is teaching us that it is not all about winning. (Photo: CNY Central)

    FAIRPORT, NY (WHAM) - It's an act of kindness that is teaching us that it is not all about winning.

    The kind gesture happened this weekend in Auburn during a cross country invitational. It came from a high school athlete who helped to pick up his competitor from Fairport.

    You might consider Luke Fortner a pro at running cross country. After all he's been at it for six years.

    "It's good I like it, it's good," he said.

    His favorite part is being able to run fast. For his mom, Cindy Fortner it's all about cheering him on.

    "Alright no dogging it Luke," she said as he trained.

    She's his number one fan and is proud of what her son has managed to accomplish.

    "He enjoys it and sometimes he makes it look easy but, it's hard and I think the other runners out there recognize that in their own way," she said.

    Luke is legally blind. It's a challenge he doesn't let stop him.

    "Alright a couple of branches," said his running aide as they ran during practice.

    It's verbal cues like those that help Luke navigate the terrain as he's tethered along side his aide.

    It's a common practice he uses during cross county meets like he did this past weekend in Auburn.

    "The finish on many races is up a hill," said Luke's mom.

    The base of the hill was muddy causing him to lose his footing. Only to receive some unexpected help from his competitor.

    "It might have been a teammate from a different team," said Luke.

    Without hesitation, Cazenovia High School sophomore Jake Tobin came swooping Luke up with the help of his running aide.

    "We carried him up the hill and then he ran, he beat me by 5 seconds or something," said Tobin.

    It was an act of kindness and display of sportsmanship .

    "To watch this young man do this it just made me feel like wow he had a great mom," said Luke's mom.

    Jake's gesture is now receiving national praise.

    "I felt like it was something that should be done and just do it," said Tobin.

    As for this race the competition was put to the side.

    "Thanks for doing that," said Luke.

    It's a moment he won't forget as he trains for his next race.

    "We got to finish strong buddy, here we go," said his aide as they wrapped up training.

    Luke's mom said he began running in elementary school. At the time his school had hired an aide to help him out much like one has today.

    She believes Luke's story has helped others who are visually impaired pursue running like he does.

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