The Rain Poured Down on Her; Then the Praise Did, Too

Bou Samnang is being hailed for her perseverance
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2023 9:35 AM CDT

For some of us, pouring rain makes it hard to get off the couch. It's understandable, then, why a Cambodian runner's determination to finish her race in a downpour, and while in last place and alone on the track, is winning hearts. The run in question happened May 8 in Phnom Penh, the site of the 2023 Southeast Asian Games. Bou Samnang was competing in the women's 5,000-meter, a 3.1-mile run. "I knew I was losing. The rain was so heavy," the 20-year-old said, per NPR. "I had the right to abandon the race, but first I have a duty to represent Cambodia. So I did not give up."

She kept going despite the rain picking up as first-place finisher Nguyen Thi Oanh of Vietnam crossed the finish line. Bou Samnang ran for another 5 minutes and 54 seconds—the last 90 seconds of which she was alone on the track—finishing in 22 minutes, 54 seconds, reports Runner's World. "I tried to reach the finish line because I wanted to show people that in life, even though we go a bit slow or fast, we will reach our destination all the same," she said. "So we should not give up. We should try our best."

Bou Samnang's best is being rewarded: The government is honoring her mettle by giving her $10,000. She tells her life "has changed 180 degrees. Everywhere I go, everyone wants to take pictures of me, people recognize me when I'm out." (More uplifting news stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.