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Shepherd Hailed As a Hero, Braving Freezing Temperatures to Save 6 Runners in Chinese Ultramarathon


Being in the right place at the right time can mean the difference between life and death.

When a freak ice storm downed runners in a 100-kilometer cross-country race in northwest China’s Gansu province, a shepherd named Zhu Keming braved the elements to carry three men and three women to safety. .

The day of the race started with mild temperatures. Zhu was taking care of his flock as usual. Then, in the space of a few moments, everything changed.

When temperatures plummeted and sleet and hail began to hit the ground, Zhu took refuge in a small cave that he had been using for years to store emergency supplies.

From this vantage point, Zhu noticed one of the corridors in obvious distress. The man seemed immobilized, disoriented, and in pain.

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Zhu led the man back to the cave to warm him up. After lighting a fire, Zhu returned to the mountainside, leading an additional five corridors to the cave. There is little doubt that he saved their lives.

Unprepared for the abrupt change in weather, most of the runners were outfitted in lightweight clothing that was no match for the freezing temperatures. The threat of hypothermia was too real. (21 of the 172 athletes in the race succumbed to the storm).

“I want to say how grateful I am to the man who saved me,” runner Zhang Xiaotao posted on Chinese social networking site Weibo. “Without him, I would have stayed out there.”

While Zhu is praised as a hero in his homeland, the humble shepherd does not see the reason for all this fuss. He says he is “just an ordinary person who did something very ordinary.”

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The athletes whose lives he saved, their families, and just about everyone who hears the story probably disagrees. Being in the right place at the right time and having the courage to do the right thing can be truly extraordinary.

SHARE the story of this true hero on social media …


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