'We finished this race together' - Auckland runner pushes disabled man to New York Marathon finish line

Source: 1News

An Auckland man who pushed a fellow New York Marathon competitor on a hand-cycle to cross the finish line says he realised what they had achieved together when he saw tears streaming down the disabled man's face.

Seven Sharp caught up with 30-year-old runner Ben Parore who's being hailed a hero for a unique act of generosity towards one of the 50,000 other competitors in the marathon last weekend.

Halfway through, Mr Parore came across a racer on a hand-cycle who was struggling, using just one arm to power the cycle. 

Hawaiian-born James Akaka can't speak and was gesturing for a helping hand, which Mr Parore was happy to provide. He put aside any thoughts of his own personal best time.  

Filming on his phone on the course, he said, "Such an inspiration this guy."

A few gruelling hours later, they crossed the finish line together.

"I think the biggest thing for me - and it didn't really hit home 'til I got over the finish line - and I turned around and I just like bent down. And he was wearing sunglasses.

"And when he took of his sunglasses he was crying, like tears were streaming down his face," Mr Parore told Seven Sharp from New York Airport.

"And that just kind of really hit home. And I was like, man, I don't know what just happened. One, we ran the New York Marathon and then two, we finished this race together."

Describing how he came to help Mr Akaka, he said the disabled man had come to a stop and was looking back giving him and another man a wave.

"And I just jumped on the back of him, and so did the other guy for a minute. But then the other guy just disappeared for a minute. And then I don't know what it was, the magic on the day, and just something said like 'you've got to stay with this guy and ride it out' which we did."

Mr Parore said it took him a little while to realise Mr Akaka couldn't talk to him but could use sign language. And knew the disabled man could hear and understand.

"It was quite amazing that he was only really using one arm. And to get over half way using only one arm, my heart goes out to him 'cause he's amazing."

Mr Parore says he's not an experienced runner and it was hard to push Mr Akaka such a long way.