Marathons and runs bring the best (and the worst) of gamesmanship. In recent events, one selfless London Marathon runner sacrificed his own race to help a physically exhausted fellow runner across the finishing line.
Matthew Rees, who was competing as part of the Swansea Harriers running club, stopped meters short of the finishing line to help David Wyeth of Chorlton Runners finish his race.Wyeth looked like he was having a physical breakdown as his legs began to buckle as he approached the finish line. The gruelling 26-mile course seemed to be taking a toll on him.
Rees told the Press Association: “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 ‘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.”
With Wyeth struggling to maintain footing in the race, Rees abandoned his own race to help carry the Chortlon runner towards the finishing line. After crossing the line, Wyeth received immediate medical attention from London paramedics before being taken away for further attention.
Like any other runner, Rees too was feeling exhausted at the end of his run. “My calf started to cramp really early on, so I just decided ‘right I’ve just got to make it to the finish line’ and so when I saw the guy on the floor it sort of brought the feelings I’d had the whole marathon to me,” said Rees.
“This is what the marathon is about – it’s about people – it’s for everyone. Moments like this make it worth it. I’m just glad he’s okay.” says Matthew Rees of Swansea Harriers who helped fellow runner David Wyeth of the Chorlton runners to finish his run.
“I wanted just to get to finishing line and that’s all he wanted – so we could just do it together. We’ve got the exact same emotions but in different ways, he can’t walk and I have just had an awful race, I just want to get to the finish line and so does he.
Rees was hailed as a ‘legend’ and ‘an amazing bloke’ by television viewers with the act of sportsmanship symbolizing the spirit of the London Marathon. Prince Charles and Harry were also seen applauding this fine spirit of sportsmanship that Rees showcased. Hopefully we have more people like Rees who rise above the goal of winning and exhibit admirable camaraderie.