South West Wales

Matthew Rees' London Marathon 2018 entry paid as thanks

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Media captionMatthew Rees helped David Wyeth up The Mall to the finish line of the London Marathon

A running club will pay for a Swansea man to run the 2018 London Marathon after he helped one of its members over the finish line at this year's event.

Swansea Harrier Matthew Rees stopped to help Chorlton Runners athlete David Wyeth who collapsed on The Mall.

He took him under his arm and walked him the 300m to the finish.

Chorlton Runners chairman Neal Wainwright said Mr Rees was "a credit to his club" and had their "eternal thanks".

In a letter on behalf of the club to Mr Rees, Mr Wainwright said the "outpouring of immediate gratitude" on the club's social media was testament to his actions.

He said the club was built on respect, with members showing "a level of support to all runners regardless of ability".

Image copyright BBC Sport
Image caption Mr Rees told Mr Wyeth: "We'll cross the line together."

He said seeing Mr Wyeth "in distress at such an agonising stage of the race" made the club hope one of their runners was close by to help, but the next runner was five minutes behind.

He told Mr Rees: "By complete chance you were a few seconds behind him and displayed the characteristics that any running club in the UK would be immensely proud of".

Mr Wainwright said club members had been impressed with Mr Rees' post race interviews, where he spoke "candidly about the fact that these races are often filled with moments of kindness".

"For the many runners who could have stopped, it was only you who chose to. For that reason, you have our eternal thanks," Mr Wainwright added.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Mr Rees and Mr Wyeth still managed to finish the race in under three hours

In recognition of "sacrificing his race", Chorlton Runners has decided to pay for Mr Rees' entry to the 2018 London Marathon, along with first class travel and accommodation.

"We hope that you will accept this small gesture and as one we hope it proves to be a wonderful race for you," added Mr Wainwright.

"We will of course try our very best to ensure none of our runners require your assistance on the day and rest assured should you experience any difficulties of your own there will be no shortage of black and gold vested runners eager to help."

Mr Rees has played down his heroics, saying "anyone would have done the same thing".

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