Selfless Sheffield pals ran to the aid of a fellow runner who suffered a broken leg during the London Marathon - and helped her to the finish line.
Hospital staff Joanne Graham and Sally Daley wasted no time when, on mile 21, they spotted another runner for Children with Cancer, crying in pain at the side of the road.
They scooped her up between them and part carried her for four miles in the blistering heat until the final stretch, when she was pushed by St John Ambulance volunteers.
Joanne, 42, of Crosspool, is a medical secretary at Claremont Hospital. She said: “The injured runner, Jo Denton from Dorset as we found out, was in a lot of pain and the marshalls kept asking her to pack in. We said we would get her to the finish, thinking that pain killers she had been given would kick in and give her a boost.
“That didn’t happen. She had a stress fracture and for part of the way we did actually try lifting her off the ground.
“We were exhausted by that point and it was a hard thing to do, particularly as it was so hot. We would do the same again though, given the choice.
“By the time we made it back to the finish line after seven hours, everyone was packing up.....it’s not quite the finish we hoped for! We did run the last mile once it became impossible for Jo to continue with her leg.”
For NHS worker Sally, 46, of Worrell, it was her first full marathon. She said: “Jo did a great job of slowing me down and making me pace myself. We had to adapt to the weather. I admit I was a bit daunted when we set off and I’m losing some toenails now but we did it, and we managed to help Jo who is recovering well from her injury and her ordeal.
“There is no way she would have made it to the finish line without help. We were determined to get her there.
“One of the policemen on duty kept telling up we were ‘proper northern girls’”.
The women hit their fundraising target for the charity Children with Cancer, for whom Joanne Denton was also running, and are grateful to main sponsors Loxley Brewery and Sunshine Tango for supplying kit and boosting their justgiving total.
“Everyone has been great and so supportive,” added Sally. “During the marathon supplies of water ran out and people who lived nearby were dashing out with supplies for runners. The atmosphere was terrific.”
Both women are mums of two, and made the London Marathon their main focus since January. It is the first time Jo had run for Children with Cancer, but Sally has previously done the Great North Run for the charity.