The London Marathon runner who sacrificed his own finish time to help an injured fellow competitor over the finish line has spoken out saying he didn’t do anything ‘out of the ordinary’.
Welshman Matthew Rees turned his final corner of the race, ready to sprint the final 200m when he saw David Wyeth on the floor and chose to help him with the final leg instead.
The inspiring show of support has had Rees hailed as a hero, but he maintains that anyone would have done it as it it the ‘human’ thing to do.
Speaking to Wales Online, Rees of the Swansea Harriers, said:
I was within touching distance of the finishing line when I saw his legs literally crumble before him.
I was really worried that he could have banged his head against the floor.
He was so close to the finishing line so it felt right to help him finish because I know how hard he would have trained for this run.
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.
The pair of them finished in 2hr 52min 26sec, and Wyeth, who was running in memory of his uncle Alan who died last year, said to the BBC:
For someone just to stop their own race to help you, that’s such a decent thing that he did.
I was urging him to move on, you know please don’t sacrifice your race for me. But he stuck with me and I think a volunteer also joined me on the other side.
I got up, they helped me up, and I just tried to keep moving.
It was David’s first time running the London Marathon and he has made £7,832.29 on his Just Giving page for the Isabel Hospice.
Rees made the poignant point that it was the ‘human’ thing to do to help another person who is struggling, something that should inspire humans in all walks of life.