Daughter helps mom cross marathon finish line: 'Made my heart so full'
"It was pretty special," mom Courtney Rich told "Good Morning America."
When Courtney Rich set out to run her second marathon this September, the mom of two told "Good Morning America" she wanted her children to "see mom not give up" on her big goal.
"I wanted them to see mom finish strong. Those are things I tell my kids as often as I can when things are hard or they're playing in their own sports. 'Just do your best and that best is going to be a little different every day,'" Rich said.
But near the end of the Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon, which was held in Salt Lake City on Sept. 9, the 40-year-old said she started to feel herself struggling and said she realized she wouldn't make the record time she was aiming for.
"My legs were just done. I could just feel them slowing down," Rich recalled. "By mile 24 … I looked at my watch and that's when I called my husband and was in tears, just having a little pity party for myself for a minute."
Shortly thereafter, Rich's daughter Avery surprised her when she showed up to give her mom a much-needed boost, grabbing her mom's hand and running the final portion of the marathon with her, until they reached the finish line.
"Next thing I knew, my daughter ran out," Rich recounted. "I kind of saw her out of the corner of my left eye and I realized it was Avery. I just put a huge smile on my face. I stuck out my hand, she grabbed it and all of a sudden, my legs that were hurting and the heaviness of my body just felt lighter and we just ran to the finish line hand in hand."
The unexpected and heartwarming moment was captured on camera by Rich's sister-in-law Karla Carlston and Rich's friend Emilee Roberts. Rich later shared the clip as a video reel on Instagram, where it quickly garnered over 1.2 million views.
"It was pretty special," Rich said, adding that looking back on the video still brings tears to her eyes.
Rich said that after the race, Avery told her she simply did what she knew would help her mom at the time, a move Rich said was "100%" something her daughter would do.
"That is absolutely Avery's character. She sees people. She has compassion. She notices people and is aware of just feelings and needs," Rich said.
"I was so happy and it just made my heart so full," she added.
The mom of two said she hopes her daughter can see from their shared experience how even a small act of kindness can make an outsized impact.
"I said Avery, 'This is an incredible example of how one little thing that impacted one person in your life had a ripple effect and how it's inspiring so many other people. So don't ever brush aside the prompting or the inspiration to do a small act of kindness for someone because you just never know what impact that will have on people,'" Rich said.