David Wyeth, 35, was running the London Marathon this past weekend in honor of his late uncle, who passed away last year — but as Metro reports, he almost collapsed of exhaustion about 200 meters away from the finish line. However, fellow runner Matthew Rees, 29, spotted that he was struggling, and sacrificed his own race to help Wyeth finish.
After the video footage of himself and Wyeth made the rounds, Rees told BBC, "I came round the final corner and I saw a runner struggling, his legs were collapsing beneath him. Every time he tried to get up, he kept on falling back to the ground."
Rees added that he tried to help Wyeth up, but realized his fellow runner wasn't going to make it alone. So instead of going on with his own run, Rees stopped to help Wyeth to his feet and walk with him to the end of the race.
"I said 'come on - we can do this — we'll do it together, we'll cross the line together,'" he told BBC. "So I put his arm around mine and we walked it to the line. The crowd were incredible, they were cheering us on."
Since BBC posted footage of the moment on their Facebook page Sunday morning, it has gone viral, amassing over 11 million views and over 28,000 shares at the time of writing.
Rees, however, downplayed his act of humanity, telling Metro, "I don’t think that what I did is out of the ordinary, I genuinely think anyone else would have done the same thing."
"I was within touching distance of the finishing line when I saw his legs literally crumble before him," he added. "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 am so happy for him that he was able to finish the race."
Wyeth, on the other hand, told Metro that he wouldn't have made it through were it not for Rees.
"I wouldn’t have got there without Matthew putting his arm around me and carrying me over the line," he said.
"For someone just to stop their own race to help you, that's such a decent thing that he did," Wyeth told BBC. "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."
Metro reports that since the race, Wyeth's JustGiving page has been overwhelmed with donations, and Wyeth himself has sent a message in response to all his well-wishers.
"I’m overwhelmed by your messages of support and the kindness of strangers," he wrote. ‘Thank you so much for your concern, I’m recovering well.’"
It just goes to show that great sportsmanship is just as important, if not more important than winning the race.
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