EastEnders star Adam Woodyatt was beaten to the finish line of the London Marathon by his son – even though Sam Woodyatt only re-learned how to walk less than six months ago.
The Walford favourite, who plays Ian Beale, put in a time of 07:04:34 and admitted stopping for an ice-cream en route.
But Sam, who spent several days in a coma after being hit by a car in September, managed the run in an impressive four hours and 24 minutes.
This is despite a five-hour operation to rebuild his pelvis following the accident just seven months ago, which left him in a wheelchair for eight weeks and forced him to learn how to walk again from scratch. He is now back to running and even gymnastics.
The father and son pair have so far raised over £6,600 for the Air Ambulance Service, the London branch of which saved Sam’s life by putting him in an induced coma and quickly airlifting him to the Royal London Hospital.
Before the 26.2 mile run on Sunday, Adam told RadioTimes.com that during Sam’s stay in hospital, the prospect of competing in the London Marathon became an incentive for his recovery.
“I’d tell him that he wouldn’t be lying there forever and that we were still going to do this together,” he said. “We weren’t banging a drum about it, but I was saying things like, ‘come on, we can still do this.’ It was a positive thing and we used it as words of encouragement to help him get better.”
Coincidentally, the two Woodyatt men had already decided to run the marathon for the Air Ambulance Service back in mid-September. Two weeks later they had first-hand experience when Sam was rescued by the London Air Ambulance.
“There’s no sugar-coating it – it was a tough time,” Adam said. “There were a lot of unknowns. We didn’t know how he was going to be when he came out of his coma, what it’d be like when he came out of the wheelchair or tried to walk. But the way he’s recovered has been phenomenal.”