A poignant moment at the New York City Marathon this year was a woman who, about 11 hours after it started, crossed the finish line on crutches.
Among the thousands of runners was Hannah Gavios, a 25-year-old native of Queens who has been partially paralyzed ever since she fell off a cliff in Thailand two years ago while trying to escape a would-be rapist.
It was the second New York City marathon the sexual assault survivor has completed.
Gavios was seriously injured in the 2016 cliff fall in Ao Nang, Krabi province, after she attempted to escape an sex attacker.
The volunteer “guide” who offered to walk her back to her hotel, 28-year-old Apai Ruengvorn, brutally attacked her, pinned her to the ground and tried to rip her clothes off. In the struggle, Gavios bit off part of his ear and ran into the night – and off the edge of an unseen cliff. She suffered a spinal cord injury and parts of her lower body are paralyzed. Apai was later sentenced to five years in prison.
For evidence of Gavios’ unbroken spirit, look no further than video posted to her Instagram, featuring her friend Lauren Tran cheering behind her.
View this post on Instagram
Subscribe to The Coconuts Podcast for top trending news and pop culture from Southeast Asia and Hong Kong every Friday!