Spirit of the Marathon

It’s just hours since both the media and social media celebrated the selfless behaviour of the Swansea Harriers runner who gave up his race time to help another guy who was clearly struggling in the London Marathon.

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Picture: Sky News

Matthew Rees, 29, was shown physically supporting David Wyeth, of Chorlton Runners, whose legs “just crumbled” just 200 yards from the finish line.

A marshal also stepped in, and with the finish completed at a walk, both runners still managed a respectable sub three-hour time.

Thousands of viewers must’ve seen the live footage of the troubled runner, first named by concerned TV commentators as David Wyeth, while he staggered exhausted and jelly-legged and at one point appeared to totally collapse to the ground just off camera.

Maybe this, then, could not have been one of his finest moments?

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Pic: BBC

Rees told reporters he had been preparing to sprint the end of the race, but that helping Wyeth was “more important” than improving on his time.

In a Sky News article he said: “[David Wyeth] 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’.”

Race organisers Tweeted that Rees “encompassed everything that’s so special about the #LondonMarathon”.

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Pic: PA

 

 

He’s being rightly hailed as a hero – but he’s not the only one.

Wyeth was running to raise money for the hospice which helped his late uncle.

His relatives have since Tweeted to say he’s now fine – and “recovering with a burger and a beer”.

A pic posted by a cousin reveals a confident face totally different to the confused but resolute expression shown in The Mall today.

David Wyeth’s determination to finish – when every reserve in his body had been used-up – is surely worthy of any marathon hero since Pheidippides.

 

 

 

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Anonymous Running

“I’m slow. I know. Get used to it”.

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Should a slow runner go undercover?

Trouble is – I can’t. 

When I did my first 10k (in Derby) I just knew a particular woman had “targeted” me to overtake. And in my second Robin Hood Half Marathon (Nottingham) I was almost ground down by the tapping behind me of a senior walker’s poles – just like the ticking of Captain Hook’s crocodile!

While I accept there’ll always be an element of competition when you’re in a race – and my challenge is not to finish last – it becomes even worse when you’re out running and minding your own business.

Me - Robin Hood 2010
I didn’t come last

It isn’t even always another runner – for some reason, I’ve had the odd man in his street clothes accidentally-on-purpose breaking into a run and overtaking me (on one occasion on a Nottingham towpath after taking an ostentatious drag of his cigarette). Like the presence a running woman is a threat to his virility?

Like, do I really need all this during what is often a coping strategy?

Suddenly you’re singled-out to be overtaken – and feel like a loser.

I have always been a bad loser!

So what gambits can I deploy to avoid this? Here are some:

  • Suddenly stopping to tie-up a perfectly tied shoelace
  • Abruptly remembering I have to check my mobile (however, I have yet to pretend I’m answering a call!)
  • Changing direction (not always possible)
  • Shock tactics – maybe sliding a hand down my leggings and scratching my groin/bum-crack (actually I haven’t tried this one yet)
  • Maybe I should get a T-shirt printed with a more pithy version of “For Christ’s sake yes I know I’m slow just b****r off!”
  • Simply yelling expletives at the offender (only the once, mind – as I did with the guy on the Nottingham towpath)

turtles-through-peanut-butter“Anonymous Running” is something I’m no stranger to – if only through covering my hair up with a baseball cap and hoping nobody will recognise me!

The cover of darkness is another option – but then of course I have to wear high vis clothing to ensure I don’t get run over, so I’m still conspicuous.  And I prefer daylight.

The great wilds of a remotely rural landscape are not a solution – I’m an urban runner through and through.

Maybe it’s my mental attitude that needs a work-out too?

After all, it takes a certain mind-set to always be a Good Sport.

Many thanks to IronFat and Hysterical Runner for inspiring this post. Rock on, sisters!