Malaysian marathon runner Khemjira Klongsanun has crossed the finish line exhausted, but with a sense of accomplishment after running such a long, grueling race. But at the end of one marathon, the 43-year-old athlete hit the end of the race clutching a stray puppy instead.
She was seven miles into the Chombeung marathon in Thailand when she noticed runners ahead of her behaving erratically for some reason. As she approached the area where they were breaking out of their route, she discovered a frightened puppy alongside the road.
Klongsanun stopped and tried talking gently to the scared puppy. No houses were in sight that she could see, so without wasting anymore time, Klongsanun scooped up the puppy in her arms and ran with it for the next 19 miles. She crossed the finish line with the puppy languishing in her arms, according to Runners World.
Apparently, being the passenger on a bumpy 19-mile jaunt was exhausting. Klongsanun shared a photo after the conclusion of the race showing the pup passed out and sprawled across her race number next to her medal. Klongsanun decided to see if the puppy's owner was out there, so she reached out to try and find him or her.
She even returned to the site where she retrieved the puppy along the marathon route, just to poke around and see if anyone had been looking for him.
Sadly, she found no one, as it turned out he truly was all alone until she stumbled upon him.
So Klongsanun decided to keep the puppy for herself, adopting him and appropriately naming him Chombeung, reported the New York Post. He easily assimilated into her home, which includes two other dogs.
"It seemed to me that this little guy was lost. There were no houses, no other dogs, or no people around. So, I picked up the puppy, if only to take him out of the unsafe environment. Running almost 20 miles carrying dog was truly a challenge. It was two times tiring than a normal marathon, but I did it anyway just because he is adorable," she told the media.
Even though she understandably added seconds if not minutes to her time by stopping to help this lost little soul, her life has been so enriched by rescuing the abandoned puppy.
According to her Facebook page, the little guy has settled into their home perfectly, even claiming his own spot on the couch. He is the cutest little furball and so fortunate to have been found by Klongsanun in a most unlikely place.