When it comes to sports, winning is more than just being the fastest or the best. It’s also about compassion, good sportsmanship and bravery—traits Greenhill School student, Ariana Luterman, exhibited at the recent Dallas Marathon on Dec. 10, 2017. When Luterman saw Chandler Self fall near the end of the 26.2-mile race, her Southern-instincts kicked in and she rushed to help her up and cross the finish line to victory.
Luterman was running in the High School Elite Relay, a component of the Dallas Marathon in which 13 boys and 13 girls from Dallas/ Fort Worth are chosen to each run an approximate two-mile leg of the race in an attempt to beat the elite runners competing in the full marathon. This year was Luterman’s third to be chosen for the relay, and she was honored with the anchor leg.
The race started out normally. Luterman sprinted about 50 meters to catch up to Self, and they shared a few encouraging words with each other. They were running stride for stride when Self fell for the first time, and Luterman made the split decision to help her.
“The first time Chandler went down, I thought she had simply tripped as we were 800 meters out and she appeared very strong,” explained Luterman. “The second time, I knew she was having trouble. As a triathlete, I have seen this type of physical breakdown before at elite competitions. I could only help her catch her balance on the second fall, but as the finish line grew closer in the final 100 meters, she kept going down. My winning the race was never even a question in my mind. We are all competitors, but we are human beings first and winning at all costs is just not part of who I am. My focus was on Chandler and doing whatever I could to help motivate her to her well-deserved marathon victory. She is the real champion.”
Luterman’s story has gained national attention, including a story on Fox News, the Washington Post, Huffington Post and more. She has also had an outpouring of support from fans around the world on social media and online.
Since she was 7, Luterman has been competing in triathlons, moving up to the elite level at age 12. She has always loved running the most; although, she credits swimming and cycling for helping her career be relatively injury free. An athlete herself, Luterman has a do-it-for-the-team mentality that translates into compassion for other competitors.
“Running allows me to be part of a team much greater than myself,” she said. “In the Dallas running community, camaraderie and inspiration is all around us. Running also gives me an opportunity for introspection, peace and relaxing. Sometimes I thrive on the pain from pushing my body beyond its limits and other times I simply enjoy putting one foot in front of the other for hours on end.”
In addition to being a part of the varsity athletics team at Greenhill School in Addison, Luterman is also interested in advanced video production and chemistry of photography. “Greenhill is a community of independent thinkers with exceptional leadership, which has allowed me the wonderful opportunity to branch out, try new things and find new passions,” said Luterman. “The Greenhill environment fosters personal growth in the arts, academics and athletics. I honestly believe that my experience here will benefit me exponentially once I begin the next chapter of my life in college.”
College has been on her mind a lot lately, as she is a senior and her college applications have all been sent in. Her goal is to pursue an advanced doctorate degree in nutritional science and exercise physiology, along with entrepreneurship classes. “I hope to one day take my passion for nutrition, biochemical processes and genetics to create a business platform where I can positively impact change for as many people as possible,” she explained.
Running, school and helping others aren’t the only things on Luterman’s mind—at the end of the day, she is still a teenager who enjoys doing normal things in her hometown. You may catch her enjoying a beautiful day in Vitruvian Park, catching a movie at LOOK Cinema, eating at Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar, Neighborhood Services or Houston’s, and organic food grocery shopping at Whole Foods Market!
Luterman’s experience helping Self at the Dallas Marathon, and the international attention she received afterward, has just encouraged her to continue thinking about others in her daily life.
“What I did was nothing extraordinary; yet, I have had an outpouring of love and support from all over the U.S., Europe, Middle East, South America and Asia,” said Luterman. “I am beyond humbled and appreciative of everyone who has contacted me through my website at www.teamariana.org to offer genuine words of support and encouragement. It is amazing what a random act of kindness can do to brighten someone’s day, or, quite literally, pick them up when they are down. If my simple act can help each one of us think beyond the ‘me’ for just a moment, I am certain that we can all come together to help one another in this crazy chaos we call life. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time, and simply did what I felt was the right thing to do at that point.”
Like Luterman’s feet, her heart is always moving in the right direction. We are proud of the strong, spirited and compassionate young woman that Luterman is, and can’t wait to see the amazing things she will continue to do in the future!