A collapsing London Marathon runner who was helped to the finish line and the fellow runner who held him up recounted their inspiring two minutes.
Matthew Rees was rounding the final corner, signifying 200 meters left of the 26.2-mile race, when he saw David Wyeth struggling to stay on his feet on Sunday.
“My mind was like, I need to help this guy,” Rees said on the BBC. “He needs to get to the finish. You’ve come 26 miles, and the finish was just there. For me, it was important to get him to the end and cross together.”
Wyeth said he told Rees to go on without him. Rees declined. Wyeth said, “I’ve got to finish,” and Rees told him, “You will,” according to the Press Association.
“I can’t say how grateful I am to Matthew because you say that, Matthew, that others would have stopped,” Wyeth said on the BBC. “And I’m sure you’re right, that there may have been others, but you persisted.”
Rees held up Wyeth as it took them nearly two minutes to trudge to the finish line. Another person, appearing to be a race volunteer or official, also came over to help.
“It was great if I’ve inspired anyone, but I do think that anyone would’ve done the same thing,” Rees said on the BBC. “If it wasn’t me, it would have been the next runner. It’s just being a human, isn’t it? Seeing someone who’s struggling and helping them out.”
The pair crossed the finish at The Mall together, but with different times as they didn’t start together. Rees’ official time was 2 hours, 52 minutes, 26 seconds. Wyeth clocked 2:51:08.
“The time means absolutely nothing to me,” Wyeth said, according to the Press Association. “I feel a slight fraud for having a [finisher’s] medal around my neck. I should cut a little piece out because it belongs to Matthew.
“I really wouldn’t have got across the line — on my hands and knees, maybe, but the time meant nothing in the end because I know I wouldn’t have got there without Matthew putting his arm around me and carrying me over the line.”
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