Man finishes marathon with a sleeping Down syndrome baby in his arms

Odette Odendaal
Nov 15, 2018
03:59 P.M.

When a New York City marathon runner crossed the finish line with his baby in his arms, the true beauty of this story may have gone unnoticed if spectator and photographer at ‘The Dr. Oz Show,’ Elizabeth Griffin didn’t take a picture and posted it online.


Elizabeth was originally waiting for a friend to come past when she saw this man running with his baby and commented:

“I’m not sure too many folks noticed because the baby was so fast asleep, but I’ve never seen anything like it. He kissed his head and kept running.”

Griffin decided to find out who the man running across the finish line with his baby is and soon found him to be scientist Robby Ketchell. No stranger to a marathon he had run many over the years, but this marathon was different.


Read more on our Twitter account @amomama_usa.


This marathon he ran to honor his son. His wife Marya Ketchell wrote:

“Wyatt was born prematurely and spent the first 67 days of his life in the NICU. He has been through more in his seven months than most people go through in a lifetime, and he will be having open heart surgery in April. He is the best, bravest person we know, and running the marathon for him was so important for our family.”


7-month-old Wyatt was also born with Down syndrome and Robby connected with LuMind Research in the hopes of raising $3,210 while also breaking the time of 3:21, symbolic of the three copies of the 21st chromosome.


Robby raised over $11,000. Wife Marya met her husband 400 meters before the finish line and handed Wyatt over to him so they could cross the finish line together. About his son Wyatt, Robby said:

“Having a son with Down syndrome has changed us in the best way and given us a different perspective on life. The amount of love and connection and the journey we’ve been through is just incredible.”


Not everyone made it over the finish line this year, and with one marathon runner, in particular, another amazing story unfolded. Kristina Elfering, a civil engineer from North Oaks, Minnesota was on the 16th mile of her first marathon to celebrate her running mate and friend, Victoria Nill’s 45th birthday.

She remembered starting to feel hot as she came off the bridge, and when she went around the corner it all went blank. Kristina collapsed. Running behind Kristina happened to be Dr. Theodore Strange, 59, a Staten Island-based doctor of internal and geriatric care.


Dr. Strange was running his 25th New York City Marathon and knew something was wrong as he ran down East 59th Street. Following the calls for help, Dr. Strange rushed over and found Kristina starting to turn blue with foaming at the mouth. Kristina had a clot in her left anterior descending artery, it caused her heart and lungs to stop working.

The doctor promptly started CPR and asked for a defibrillator which the NYPD and EMS services quickly delivered. By the fourth defibrillation she started breathing again and gasped, she was taken to the hospital where she received a stent in her artery to keep it open.


It is to early to tell whether she will need a defibrillator implanted surgically. However, it is clear that Dr. Strange was right where he was supposed to be, and circumstances been a little different, Kristina may very well not have survived.

Another pleasant surprise at the TCS New York City Marathon is when Daniel Romanchuk became the first American man to win in the men’s wheelchair division and ended up smashing the record by three times New York Marathon champion, Marcel Hug from Switzerland.


The 20-year-old made his Paralympic debut in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and have since placed third in the London marathon. However, this year, had him secure his second big win, with the gold he received in Chicago a few weeks ago being the first.

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