A blind runner has shared a heartwarming story of how a complete stranger helped him across the Manchester Marathon finish line.
Keen Leicester-based runner Haseeb Ahmad has taken part in countless long-distance runs and endurance events over the years, but was just eighteen miles into the Manchester Marathon this past Sunday when his guide runner unfortunately had to drop out after developing blisters and leg cramps.
Haseeb was determined to not let this set him back though, and continue to finish the run.
So, he decided to ask for a helping hand from nearby runner Stuart Whitehouse – an electrician from Leeds – to guide him across the finish line.
Haseeb – who holds an Ironman world record – told the BBC: “I walked back on to the course and I thought, ‘you know what? The next person who comes along, I’m going to just ask’.
At that point, Stuart “popped up” and offered his help, Haseeb said.
“He says in his lovely Leeds accent, ‘go on lads carry on, keep going’, and I went ‘well my guide can’t keep going, so how about taking me to the end of the race?’ [and he] did not even hesitate but said ‘I don’t know how long I can carry on for either’.”
Stuart has since admitted that he was “really struggling” at that stage of the marathon, and that Haseeb was actually the one to help him cross the finish line.
He said: “I was really struggling and I just said, ‘I’d be glad to help out, you’d be helping me’. It was weird, I found an inner strength [and] I picked up the pace and we were encouraging each other, talking all the way.”
The two runners have stayed in touch since the marathon, and Stuart has even insisted that their run together has “changed his life”, adding that he’s “made such a great friend”.
“He’s a great guy – I think we will be lifelong friends,” Haseeb added.
Featured Image – Stuart Whitehouse