With 2012 Men's Olympic Marathon Around the Corner, the 1968 Event Comes to Mind

One of the most memorable scenes from any recent Olympics marathon came not from the winners' finish but from the last placing marathoner's finish at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.

74 runners were entered in the event and 57 finished, with winner Mamo Wolde of Ethiopia finishing over 3 minutes in front of the next closest runner.

But the story that filmmaker Bud Greenspan brought a lump to our throats was about the last place finisher, John Steven Akhwari of Tanzania, who limped to the finish in 3 hours, 25 minutes, over an hour after the winners crossed the line.

Mexico City sits at an altitude of over 7,000 feet. If you haven't trained at that kind of altitude, running a marathon can do a number on you. Before the halfway point of the race, Akhwari was jostled by other runners and fell, injuring his knee and slamming into the pavement. Most would have stopped at that point, but he decided to keep running.

Interviewed at the end of the race he said something along the lines of "My country didn't send me 5,000 miles to start the race. They sent me 5,000 miles to finish it." Truly inspirational.