LONDON — A runner who carried an exhausted fellow athlete over the London Marathon finishing line says helping him to the end was more important than the race time.
Matthew Rees encountered the staggering racer as the pair rounded the final stretch in front of Buckingham Palace on Sunday.
To raucous cheers, the 29-year-old Rees put his fatigued rival’s arm around his neck and hauled him to the end of the 26.2-mile (42.2-kilometer) course. The pair then separated.
“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,” Rees said. “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.”