TRENTON, Ill. — Finishing last in a race never felt so good for a set of twins.
Chloe and Claire Gruenke of West-Clin Middle School.were running in a state track meet when Chloe fell to the track in pain. Her twin sister came to her rescue and their photo finish had the crowd on their feet and in tears.
"I was running my 800 and I was trying to stay up with the pack," Chloe said. "And then I opened up my stride too much and I felt something in my quad move and pull."
Chloe tried to keep running, but by the time she hit the first curve of her second lap, she says it hurt too much and she fell to the track.
"I thought oh my goodness what just happened," said Claire. "I went up to her and I said 'Chloe are you okay?' and she was like 'I don't know. Something just pulled in my leg.'"
So Claire did what came natural.
"I put her on my back, and then I started to jog. I got really tired, so I walked the rest and the crowd was just blaring in my ears. That gave me energy to at least finish it," she said.
"And then right before the finish line she put me down and she wanted me to go first because it was my race," Chloe said. "I didn't want to go first. I wanted to finish with her so I pulled her with me and then we finished."
The twins' coach, Ted Crail, says what happened is nothing he could have taught them at the track where they train. And he says that moment was so much bigger than a track meet or a trophy.
"I've been coaching for 20 years. I've probably been to over 200 track meets. And it's the first time I ever had tears in my eyes," said Crail.
This was Chloe's first time going down in a race.
"It was a little disappointing. Then I remembered I did finish, and it was a great way to finish," she said.
"They've been in sports their whole lives. To be able to be an example to other people of really what's important in sports, that made us very proud," their father, Doug Gruenke said.
Claire says if she had to, she'd do it all over again because that's what twins do.
And Chloe tells us her leg is much better, and they're both looking forward to next track season.
Tracy Clemons also writes for KSDK-TV, St. Louis