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Manchester Marathon: Stranger helps blind runner finish race Manchester Marathon: Stranger helps blind runner finish race
(32 minutes later)
Haseeb Ahmad was helped by Stuart Whitehouse after his guide runner had to drop out of the raceHaseeb Ahmad was helped by Stuart Whitehouse after his guide runner had to drop out of the race
A blind runner has thanked a stranger who stepped in midway through a marathon to help him finish.A blind runner has thanked a stranger who stepped in midway through a marathon to help him finish.
Haseeb Ahmad was 18 miles into Sunday's Manchester Marathon when his guide runner had to drop out.Haseeb Ahmad was 18 miles into Sunday's Manchester Marathon when his guide runner had to drop out.
Mr Ahmad, from Leicester, was keen to continue and asked the next runner, Stuart Whitehouse, to take over.Mr Ahmad, from Leicester, was keen to continue and asked the next runner, Stuart Whitehouse, to take over.
They crossed the finish line together and Mr Ahmad said: "He's a great guy, he didn't hesitate, I think we will be lifelong friends."They crossed the finish line together and Mr Ahmad said: "He's a great guy, he didn't hesitate, I think we will be lifelong friends."
With more than 30,000 participants, it was billed as the second biggest running event in the UK.With more than 30,000 participants, it was billed as the second biggest running event in the UK.
The race had been going well until Mr Ahmad's guide runner developed blisters, then cramp and eventually collapsed.The race had been going well until Mr Ahmad's guide runner developed blisters, then cramp and eventually collapsed.
After 10 minutes of treatment, he recovered but could not continue.After 10 minutes of treatment, he recovered but could not continue.
Mr Ahmad said: "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'." Mr Ahmad, who is an Ironman triathlon world record holder, said: "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'."
'Lifelong friends' 'Lovely Leeds accent'
Mr Whitehouse, from Leeds, said: "I stopped to say, 'you are doing really well' and Haseeb said, 'my guide has pulled out, any chance you can help?' At that point, Mr Whitehouse "popped up" and intervened, Mr Ahmad said.
"I was really struggling at that point and I just said, 'I'd be glad to help out, you'd be helping me'. "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?'
"The man did not even hesitate but said 'I don't know how long I can carry on for either'," Mr Ahmad added.
Mr Whitehouse, from Leeds, 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. I picked up the pace and we were encouraging each other, talking all the way.""It was weird, I found an inner strength. I picked up the pace and we were encouraging each other, talking all the way."
Mr Whitehouse, who almost did not take part due to injury and mental health issues, added: "It's changed my life, I've made such a great friend."Mr Whitehouse, who almost did not take part due to injury and mental health issues, added: "It's changed my life, I've made such a great friend."
Mr Ahmed, who works for the NHS, said: "It makes you feel humble and grateful. Mr Ahmad, who works for the NHS, said: "It makes you feel humble and grateful.
"He's a great guy, he didn't hesitate, I think we will be lifelong friends." "He's a great guy. I think we will be lifelong friends."
Follow BBC East Midlands on Facebook, on Twitter, or on Instagram. Send your story ideas to eastmidsnews@bbc.co.uk.Follow BBC East Midlands on Facebook, on Twitter, or on Instagram. Send your story ideas to eastmidsnews@bbc.co.uk.