Mayor honors Rodes City Run participant, officer after encounter goes viral

Asia Ford was determined not to give up the Rodes City Run and with the help of an officer, she crossed the finish line.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- At the Rodes City Run, there are no losers; not even the person who finishes dead last. Asia Ford wears that badge with a smile as long as the race itself.

The annual event is just one leg of her life's journey.

"It's been a struggle because nothing is easy in life," Ford said, "It's been a lot of teary-eyed moments, but I know I want it for myself."

For years, Ford struggled with her weight. She said her heaviest weigh-in was at 474 pounds. She knew something had to change. It finally did, when her husband at the time, lost a limb as a result of diabetes. From that moment on, every time she went to the doctor, her children worried.

"That is when I woke up and I couldn't allow them to be on this earth without my help and the only way I would be able to help them is if I helped myself first," she said.

Ford started working out, joined a boot camp with a group of supportive friends and before she knew it, she had lost 25 pounds.

She's been shedding weight ever since.

Saturday morning marked a moment to reach another goal: conquer the 10K Rodes City Run. She did well on the more than 6 mile course, until she started to feel sick during the fourth mile. She noticed a stranger drive up.

"I'm not going to let her quit, so I got out and she immediately grabbed my hand," LMPD Lt. Aubrey Gregory said.

"He asked me if I wanted to stop and I was like, 'No,' we have two more miles to go," she recalled.

But Ford would not go it alone.

From behind, a stranger snapped a picture of the pair hand in hand inching toward the finish line. Along the way, Ford said Lt. Gregory talked to her son and even shared the loss of his mother to diabetes. Before the two knew it, they had only a few steps to go.

"Your heart starts to fill up, you get those goose bumps and tingles all over your body," Lt. Gregory said steadily, "When I watched her approach and I started to hear people scream and I let her go right there before the end and to see her raise her hands, there aren't words to express the way I felt seeing her be successful."

"It was really a special moment," Ford added.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer posted a pair of photos of the moment on his Facebook page showing the raw emotion of the moment Ford crossed that barrier.

The first image, posted on the WHAS11 Facebook page garnered more than 40,000 likes and was shared more than 6,000 times in a matter of hours after the race.

Surely, no one saw that ending coming. What they did witness was a man who was more than his badge and gun.

Mayor Greg Fischer and city leaders will be on hand Monday to recognize Ford, Officer Gregory and photographer Jonathan Roberts in a special ceremony Monday at the Mayor's Gallery in downtown Louisville.


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