In October 2009, Southern New Hampshire University cross country runners Tyler Parks and Mike Smith were competing in the New England Championship in Boston. At approximately the 3.5-mile mark on the course, they came across an unconscious Boston University runner who was face down in a wooded area. It was estimated that the runner had been lying there for three to four minutes and possibly 100 runners had passed him. Parks and Smith stopped to assist the runner, even though doing so prevented them from finishing the race. After initial efforts to wake him, the pair took hold of the runner, who soon regained consciousness. Parks and Smith proceeded carefully to take him to the nearest medical tent. He turned out to be suffering from dehydration and ended up being fine. Southern New Hampshire Director of Athletics Chip Polak said, “Tyler and Mike helped a fallen runner because it was the right thing to do. It was a selfless act. They never anticipated or expected to receive recognition. I am extremely proud to have Tyler and Mike representing SNHU.” Although Parks and Smith did not complete the race, their character shone brighter than any medal.
Tyler Parks and Mike Smith are the recipients of the NCAA Sportsmanship Award.