Woman who fell off cliff while escaping sexual assault two years ago finishes marathon on crutches

Hannah Gavios, 25, who was told she may not be able to walk, ran 26.2 miles on crutches and finished the New York City Marathon in 11 hours

                            Woman who fell off cliff while escaping sexual assault two years ago finishes marathon on crutches

The 25-year-old Hannah Gavios, who was left nearly paralyzed for life after jumping off a cliff to get away from a horrific sexual assault in Thailand, reportedly finished the New York City Marathon on crutches on Sunday along with tens of thousands of other runners.

Gavios, who fractured her spine after falling from a cliff, strived through the 26.2-mile, five-borough course on crutches and finished the marathon in 11 hours, at about 8 pm, according to the New York Post. Even though most of the competitors had finished the run by the time Gavios reached the final leg, they waited for her and greeted her with at the finish line.

Hannah, after completing the race, said: "I didn’t expect these many people. It just shows my city has my back. My city is awesome, waiting for me here — I don’t know how long everyone waited for me — it just means so much to me that you guys stayed. Thank you.” She also added that her main thought after she finished the race was to "get through the pain."


Two weeks before the marathon, Gavios had told The Post why she was participating in the marathon: "I’m going to be a functioning human — I don’t want to feel like I’m left behind. The doctors were a little negative [about my ability to walk]. I was scared that I’d never be able to move or feel my feet again. I have to work extra, extra hard just to walk a block, to get up the stairs. But all that hard work makes me a stronger person.”

Gavios, who is from New York, was teaching in Thailand when the tragedy occurred. She was assaulted by a local man, Apai Ruangwong, after she asked him for directions to her hotel in Krabi. Reports state that the 28-year-old man instead led her to a wooded area and attacked her. The man attempted to rip off her clothes but she fought back, bit off his ear and, in an attempt to run away from him, she blindly ran off the edge of a cliff. The fall left her crippled waist down as she smashed her head on the ground.


However, the nightmare was not yet over for Gavios as the assaulter came down the cliff and sexually assaulted her for several hours as she lay there helpless and in excruciating pain. The man then left and later returned with people who raised alarm. He was eventually exposed and was arrested. 

Since the incident, Hannah has ended a year of intensive physical therapy and can now walk with leg braces and crutches. Her recovery has been remarkable as the 25-year-old also received her yoga teaching certification and even works out at rock-climbing gyms and is learning martial arts.