Amid a stacked sporting weekend featuring European rugby, FA Cup semi finals and League finals in hurling and camogie, this morning's London Marathon was somewhat lost in the pack today. The races were won by Kenyans Mary Keitany and Daniel Wanjiru. Wanjiru held off a late charge by Ethiopian legend Kenenisa Bekele, while Keitany ran the second fastest marathon time in history, crossing the line in two hours, seventeen minutes and one second.
What the race is really about though is the thousands of Joe Soaps who take it upon themselves to run 26.2 miles for fun. The record 40,000 runners were cheered on by over 800,000 spectators on the streets of London and were even given a Royal sendoff with Princes William and Harry sending them on their way.
A few of the Balls team have embraced the madness over the years, so we can empathize with anyone who struggles near the end (or the start). You're gasping for air, your legs feel like bricks and your feet are likely to be blistered to bits. So we don't envy anyone that finds it hard to get over that line after 26 hard miles.
One such struggler today was David Wyeth, who was completely out on his feet as he turned the final corner. With Buckingham Palace in the background, Wyeth's legs started wobbling. What happened next was a fantastic show of sportsmanship.
— BBC Wales News (@BBCWalesNews) April 23, 2017
We tip our collective hats to Matthew Rees, who, alongside a race steward, helped the struggling Chorlton clubman across the finish. A real display of the camaraderie that sports is supposed to be about is very often seen at the end of marathons in particular.
The pair crossed the line at the same time (02:51:08), and Rees took some deserved acclaim on Twitter.
— Andrew Morris (@AndiMorris85) April 23, 2017
Both runners deserve medals! Really disappointing that you can struggle and not be awarded medal because you were helped across the line
— Kasey Stone (@kasey_stone_) April 23, 2017