Aussie runner's incredible act after distressing Olympics collapse

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Patrick Tiernan, pictured here collapsing in the 10,000m final.
Patrick Tiernan got back up and finished the race after collapsing in scary scenes. Image: Channel 7

Distance runner Patrick Tiernan has left Australia in awe after refusing to quit despite a scary collapse in the 10,000m at the Tokyo Olympics on Friday night.

Tiernan collapsed to the track in exhaustion on the final lap of the gruelling race in Tokyo, before picking himself up to struggle across the line.

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The 10,000m Australian record holder had bravely stayed with the leading group for the vast majority of the race.

And with a single lap to go, the 26-year-old looked to be well placed for a top-10 finish.

However he hit the wall in confronting scenes, collapsing on the final straight on a humid evening.

But in extraordinary scenes that have captivated the nation, Tiernan picked himself up and struggled across the finish line on wobbly legs.

Tiernan received medical attention after the race and had to be taken out of the stadium in a wheelchair.

"It's the Olympics and I've been waiting for five years for it," Tiernan said after being given the all-clear.

"It was about 180 to go that I collapsed the first time. You don't stop when you've got 180 metres to go.

"I didn't think I was completely done at that point, so I got up.

"It happened again and I knew I was in trouble. I was so close that you have to will yourself across the line and finish that race.

"I knew it was something I could do and also needed to do."

Patrick Tiernan, pictured here in the 10,000m final at the Tokyo Olympics.
Patrick Tiernan competes in the 10,000m final at the Tokyo Olympics. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Australia erupts over Patrick Tiernan's heroic display

Tiernan was hailed as a hero by Aussie fans back home on social media after completing the race in 19th place in a season's best time of 28 minutes 35.06 seconds.

"It's not the sort of publicity I want and I was hoping I'd be getting after this race," he conceded.

"It doesn't feel anything heroic to me.

"I just fell a little short of where I wanted to be and haven't had a chance to process any of that.

"I'll decompress over the next couple of days, but I'm glad it's struck a chord with a few people."

Tiernan is also entered in the 5000m, with heats taking place on Tuesday.

Ethiopia's Selemon Barega was a surprise winner in 27:43.22, with the minor medals going to world record holder Joshua Cheptegei from Uganda and his countryman Jacob Kiplimo.

with AAP

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