A RUNNER has been hailed as a hero for helping a fellow contestant out of the River Thames. 

Reading Roadrunners chairman Phil Reay competed in the 100-mile race between Walton-on-Thames and Oxford on Saturday (May 8).

Whilst running on the Thames Promenade he could hear someone shouting "help" from ahead.

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The word 'help' then echoed again and Phil saw a fellow runner drowning in the water.

He said: "All I did was help another runner out, anybody would have done the same.  It was no big deal.  I'm just proud to be part of the wonderful, supportive running community. There are plenty of people who could have frozen or panicked and some that would have done the same as me. I just happened to be there so I grabbed him and pulled him out." 

The incident happened just after midnight, 600 metres up the gravelled path of the Thames Promenade between Caversham and Tilehurst.

Phil explained how "instinct" had just kicked in and he did what anyone else would have done.

The Reading resident, who has been running since he was seven-year's-old, said: "The water wasn't that deep, I sat on the edge and hauled him out. The guy didn't get hypothermia and the medics came and put a foiled blanket on him.

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"They then eased him slowly to Scours Lane and I was cold but I carried on for 15 miles until my legs had seized up. My right arm is aching today - you don't realise how heavy people are in the water with their clothes weighing them down and backpack too." 

Phil explained how the runner he helped out of the water plans to retrace his steps and figure out how he'd fallen in the first place. 

The runner who fell in the river was checked over by paramedics and is doing fine.