Marathoner sacrifices race to help fallen competitor in act of ‘ultimate sportsmanship’

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LONDON — A runner who was on pace to make a strong finish in the London Marathon stopped in his tracks to help carry a competitor across the finish line Sunday.

Matthew Rees, 29, who was competing as part of the Swansea Harriers running club, was about 200 meters from the end of the race when another runner collapsed in front of him.

As other runners raced past, Rees stopped, sacrificing his own time, to help David Wyeth, who was racing with the Chorlton Runners.

“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,” Wales Online quoted Rees as saying.

“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.'”

Rees said Wyeth was struggling physically and mentally after running 26 miles.

“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,'” the paper quoted Rees as saying.

Rees quickly earned lots of praise on social media for his decision to stop and help a competitor.

His honorable actions even caught the attention of the British royal family.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Britain’s Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Britain’s Prince Harry were encouraging runners and handing out water near the end of the race.

According to Wales Online, the royals joined “hundreds of others in clapping the pair as they crossed the line to huge cheers.”