UK

London Marathon Runner Helps Exhausted Athlete Over Finishing Line And It Was Brilliant

Matthew Rees hailed for 'sportsmanship at its very best'.

23/04/2017 22:04 BST

A London Marathon runner has been hailed a hero after carrying an exhausted fellow athlete over the finishing line.

Matthew Rees said helping David Wyeth to the end was more important than the race time after he encountered the staggering racer as the pair rounded the final stretch in front of Buckingham Palace on Sunday.

To raucous cheers, 29-year-old Rees put his struggling fellow competitor’s arm around his neck and hauled him to the end of the 26.2-mile course.

ADRIAN DENNIS via Getty Images
Matthew Rees of Swansea Harriers helps David Wyeth of Chorlton Runners reach the finish line during the London marathon.

Rees, who runs for Swansea Harriers, told the Press Association that he said to Wyeth: “Come on, we can do this”:

“I took the final corner thinking ‘right, it’s nearly done, time to sprint’, and I saw this guy and his legs just crumbled below him.

“I saw him try to stand up again and his legs just went down again, and I thought, ‘This is more important, getting him across the line is more important than shaving a few seconds off my time.’

“I went over to try and help him and, every time he tried to get up, he just fell down again and again, so I just tried to cheer him on, picked him up and said, ‘Come on, we can do this’.

“He was really grateful, but he wasn’t very coherent, he was just like ‘I have to finish, I have to finish’ and I said ‘you will finish, you will get there, come on let’s do this’, but every time he tried to move he would just fall again so it was important to guide him.”

PA Wire/PA Images
Matthew Rees, 29, from Swansea, who helped carry an exhausted runner over the marathon finishing line.

After millions watched the footage on the BBC, people were urging others to donate to Wyeth’s JustGiving page.

The Chorlton Runners club in Manchester runner was running the London Marathon in memory of his uncle, Alan. The race took part on the day that would have been his uncle’s 72nd birthday.

Rees was universally hailed as a hero on social media: