LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - With her hands in the air, a photograph captured the moment Asia Ford emerged victorious. She didn't win the Rodes City Run Saturday. In fact, she essentially came in last. What mattered most however, was that she finished, thanks to the help of her son and an armed man in blue.
"We asked her did she want to quit and she said no," said TJ Ford, 13, of his mother Asia.
Upon hitting the fourth mile of the race, Ford began to have trouble breathing.
"The hurtful moment was knowing that I had one mile in front of me," said Ford.
Just when she felt ready to give up, Louisville Metro Police Lt. Aubrey Gregory stepped in.
"I taught my kids never to give up," said Ford. "I felt my hand raise and I looked to my left and it was Officer Gregory."
"I said, 'are we going to stop?' and she said, 'no!' and I said, 'great, because we're going to do this together," said Lt. Gregory.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer honored that act of compassion Monday.
"We don't give these out lightly," said Fischer. "They're for great acts of citizenship. A key to the city."
Ford also thanked Gregory with a huge hug.
While her accomplishment has inspired many, turns out Ford's road to fitness started long before she took to this Rodes City Run course.
Two years and more than 200 pounds later, the mother of three is well on her fitness journey.
"I started out with a group of my friends through a boot camp that I'm in called Aspirations," said Ford. "I was able to complete the race and I wanted to beat my number and even though I wanted to beat it by 15 minutes I was sick and still beat it by three minutes."
Ever since this photo of that triumphant moment went viral, from her phone and voice mail to her inbox and timeline, Ford has been flooded with support and recognition. People from all over the world have been impressed with not only her willpower to push through to the finish but Officer Gregory's compassion.
"Before you knew it, that last mile-and-a-half, two miles had melted away and we were at the finish line," said Lt. Gregory.
Their photo finish has become a lesson in compassion now linked worldwide.
Mayor Fischer also awarded keys to the city to Jefferson County Public Schools photographer Jonathan Roberts and Yellow EMS Paramedic Danny Carlton for their snapshots that helped capture this heartwarming moment.