Runner finishes marathon with found puppy

BANGKOK, THAILAND She may not have won the race, but 43-year-old Khemjira Klongsanun is winning the hearts of Thais after photos of her finishing a marathon with a puppy in her arms - one rescued from the side of the road mid-race - went viral on social media.

Khemjira, who owns her own accounting firm, spotted the puppy about 12 kilometers into the 42 kilometer "Chombueng Marathon" in Ratchaburi province on Sunday, Jan 20.

"I was running on the left side of the road and noticed that people kept dodging this particular spot," Khemjira told Coconuts Bangkok this afternoon. "When I got to that spot, I saw a little tail wagging. Right then and there I made a promise that I was going to give my life to this dog."

Since she couldn't see its mother or any other dogs nearby, Khemjira decided to take her new friend along for the rest of her run.

"There were still about 2,000-3,000 runners behind me and that point it was about 5 in the morning, so it was still dark. I was really nervous that someone was going to step on her," she said.

Khemjira ran the rest of the 30 kilometers with the puppy in her arms. Though she didn't feel the extra weight for the first 25 kilometers, the last five were hell, she told us.

"I was really tired and weak by that point. I think the last five took me almost an hour. At some point, I wanted to give up, but I promised myself that I was going to dedicate my life to care of this dog, so I had to keep going."

Khemjira decided to call the puppy Chombueng, the name both of the marathon and the district it's held in, as an ode to how they met.

Chombueng has since joined the rest of Khemjira's huge "family," which consists of 22 other dogs and 30 cats.

"Almost all of them are rescues or given to us by people who can't take care of them anymore. We have a blind dog and one with two working legs," she said. "I know it's a lot, but as a business owner, I have the means to take care of them."

"I guess I'm a very soft-hearted person," she said giggling.

Credits - This true article, "Thai woman rescues puppy while running marathon, now they're a family" by Teirra Kamolvattanavith, was published on "Coconuts Bangkok".

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