Every year, the London Marathon sees thousands of people from all different walks of life compete in a gruelling 26-mile run through the English capital.
The entrants often include many familiar faces in the form of famous actors, musicians, and athletes with most participating in the event to raise money for a charity of their choice.
Despite its fun-filled nature, the long-distance race is extremely taxing on the body, even for those who come from a sporting background, as ex-Manchester United player Quinton Fortune found out on Sunday.
Fortune was signed by legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson in 1999 and spent seven seasons at Old Trafford under the Scotsman.
Mainly used as a rotation player, Fortune was only ever awarded one Premier League medal during his time in Manchester, as despite playing in three Premier League-winning squads, the South African never made the required number of appearances (10) to earn a winners medal.
However, despite having previously played for one of the biggest teams in world football, Fortune found himself struggling to finish Sunday’s London Marathon as his legs gave way and he began to stumble just a mile from the finishing line.
It looked like the former footballer may not be able to complete the marathon and be forced to miss out on yet another medal, when he was saved by an act of selflessness from another runner.
Tommy Lewis, unaware of who he was helping, saw the ex-Manchester United man and decided to sacrifice his own time in the race to help Fortune cross the line.
Speaking to the Coventry Telegraph about his heroic act, Lewis from Warwickshire said: “I was just running down Embankment when I just saw this bloke struggling
“I just kept saying to him ‘come on, we are not that far away now’ but he started to struggle even more, he almost fell over so I managed to put my arm around him.
“He was mumbling about ‘sub four hours’. which is the time most runners aim to complete the marathon in, and I kept saying ‘we are almost there, we can do it’.”
Despite the 25-year old Lewis’ best attempts to encourage Fortune across the finishing line, the former United man got worse with around 600 meters to go, falling over and taking Lewis with him.
“He fell and took me down with him, a marshal came over and helped me get him back up and the marshal and I literally carried him to the finishing line.”
Lewis claims that he was hurt and injured himself, but that he kept thinking how devastating it would be for Fortune to fail to finish the marathon having come so far.
He also admitted he had no idea that the person he was helping to finish the race was a former football star until he started hearing people chant his name.
Medical staff were quick to help Fortune after he crossed the line and the ex-South Africa international has since taken to his Twitter account to thank Lewis for his selfless act.
“He sent me a message, thanking me several times for helping him get to the finish,” Lewis added.
Even the official Manchester United Twitter page commented on the saga.
“I didn’t expect it, I would have helped anyone, you treat others how you would like to be treated,” said the Leicester City fan, who was running his third London Marathon in honour of his grandparents who both passed away earlier this year.
What do you think of Lewis’ selfless act? What were your favourite stories to come out of this years London Marathon? Have YOUR say in the comments below.