Rugby legend Kevin Sinfield stopped short of the finish line at the inaugural Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon to carry his friend across the line.
The event, named after former Leeds star Rhinos Burrow, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2019, drew more than 12,000 participants.
It was inspired by Sinfield, who pushed his former teammate around the field in a specially adapted wheelchair.
He then lifted Burrow and carried him to the delight of the audience.
As a crowd cheered them on, Sinfield gave Burrow a kiss after joining thousands of other runners in Leeds’ first marathon in 20 years.
Spectators also lined up 26.2 miles (42.2 km) – starting and ending at Headingley Stadium – to cheer them on.
One woman told BBC Look North it was an emotional day, especially seeing two friends finish the marathon together.
Another said she was there to support her 76-year-old husband, who is running his first marathon with two prosthetic knees and four stents.
The marathon aims to raise funds for the Rob Burrow Center for Motor Neuropathy Appeals and the Leeds Hospital Charity, as well as a range of other activities.
“The support given to the MND community through the Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon has been amazing,” said Sinfield, who has set out on her own to run fundraising challenges to support her friend.
Before the race, Sinfield thanked all the participants for “creating something really cool called Rob”.
“Today is a celebration of friendship,” he added.
By the end of 2020, Sinfield had run seven marathons in seven days, and in 2021, he’s completed the 101-mile run in 24 hours.
Speaking ahead of the big day, Burrow said: “Leeds is a wonderful city and I am so grateful for all the support the city has shown not only to me and my family, but to the event and to the whole world. MND community ministry.”
Run For All announced last month that the Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon would return in 2024 after this year’s race attendance was “overwhelming”.
Jenn Scribbins, from the Motor Neuropathy Association, said the Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon was crucial to beating the “devastating” disease.
“Six people are diagnosed every day and unfortunately there is no cure,” she said.
“What this event is doing is raising funds to get us closer to that cure.”