The creed of the armed forces is that you never leave a fallen man behind.

And it was that reaction from a Wanganui Collegiate Year 13 student that helped a 10-year-old boy through the last few hundred metres of a five-kilometre run in Whanganui recently.

That unselfish action prompted Lesley Jones to contact Collegiate headmaster Chris Moller expressing her thanks for the caring response of a "Collegiate giant" in helping her son Oliver.

Mrs Jones said Oliver was giving it everything coming into the last kilometre when he caught up to "this Collegiate giant" and he asked him to help him through to the finish.

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Wanganui Collegiate student Harry Unsworth (right) and St George's pupil Oliver Jones. Photo / Stuart Munro
Wanganui Collegiate student Harry Unsworth (right) and St George's pupil Oliver Jones. Photo / Stuart Munro

"He puts his own race on hold to support this small guy who is giving his all, putting others before self. I don't know his name but please pass on our compliments to this young man," she said.

The big-hearted "giant" turned out to be 18-year-old Harry Unsworth.

He was crossing the final bridge in the Property Brokers 39th Annual Round The Bridges fun run when he heard a young boy - 10-year-old St George's pupil Oliver Jones - battling toward the end of the run.

"He was behind me. I could hear him ... the quick, fast steps and puffing hard. I heard someone calling out to him 'Come on, you can beat the Collegiate boy'. So then I waited for him to catch up to me.

"When he got to me I kept saying to him 'Come on, mate, you can beat me. Pace yourself'.

He said he was too tired to carry on but I just pushed him through to a sprint finish."

Harry, who is a Whanganui age group representative in both rugby and cricket, held off at the end and let young Oliver cross the line before him.

"After that he came up to me, hugged me and said thanks. It was cool."

As for Oliver, it was his second 5km run and he told the Chronicle "it was getting a bit tough toward the end".

"I was a bit puffed and I wanted to catch up to him (Harry). But once I caught up to him I had to keep this real fast pace to stay with him. Then he slowed down a bit for me which was great.

"He helped me quite a lot, but I still would have run over the finish line. I don't walk over the finish line," Oliver said.