London Marathon runner reunited with finish-line helper

Caroline Davies
Matthew Rees and David Wyeth in front of Tower Bridge in London. Photograph: Adam Davy/PA

A London Marathon runner who was helped across the finish line by a fellow competitor has admitted he feels selfish for having put himself at risk with his two young children watching.

David Wyeth and his rescuer, Matthew Rees, were reunited on Monday, less than 24 hours after they both completed the race in under three hours.

Wyeth, 35, a project manager from Manchester, told the Press Association: “The time means absolutely nothing to me – I feel a slight fraud for having a medal around my neck. I should cut a little piece out because it belongs to Matthew.

“I really wouldn’t have got across the line – on my hands and knees maybe – but the time meant nothing in the end because I know I wouldn’t have got there without Matthew putting his arm around me and carrying me over the line.”

Almost in tears, he recalled the painful final moments of the race. “I knew where [my family] were positioned for the last viewing point, and that was around Westminster. I think I was in a state of distress at that point around Westminster and they knew something was wrong and that I was injured, or worse.

“I will reflect on the day but my concern was the risk I put myself in with two young children, that I’m doing something for fun and it’s my recreation and I just felt so selfish that I was there in a bad way.”

He added: “Massive, massive thanks to the London Marathon teams – so many volunteers, so many kind faces, so many kind words.”

Wyeth, of Chorlton Runners, said he had meticulously planned and trained for the race, and believed dehydration could have caused him to buckle as he aimed for his goal of under two hours and 40 minutes.

The two men noted that Wyeth recorded a time one minute faster than that of Rees, having crossed the start line later.

Rees, an HSBC bank worker and member of Swansea Harriers, said he had feared during the race that he might not finish after struggling with a calf issue.

Describing the dramatic finale of his race, he said: “I was literally just about to get into my stride for the sprint finish – I’ve always got a little bit of sprint finish left in me, then I saw David. The point I saw him, he was clearly struggling and his legs just went from underneath him and he fell to the ground.

“I went over and he said, ‘I’ve got to finish,’ and I said, ‘You will,’ and I helped him up. It was clear he wouldn’t be able to do this alone, so I thought ‘stick with him’ to make sure he did reach that finish line.”

Wyeth’s brother, Steven, a sports broadcaster, later tweeted that his brother’s fundraising, for Isabel Hospice in Hertfordshire, had increased sixfold since he and Rees crossed the line.

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