Among the runners were Jonny Benjamin and Neil Laybourn, who ran an emotional 26.2 miles together after a long mental health journey.In 2008, Neil had stepped in to save Jonny’s life as he stood on Waterloo Bridge waiting to jump, telling him: “Things will get better.”After 5 hours 28, the pair crossed the finish line together proclaiming the support “incredible” and “emotional”. Show more Prince Harry was nicknamed the “royal hugger-in-chief” at the start line, after he, his brother and his sister-in-law offered a few last-minute words of encouragement to runners including military veterans, a family who lost their father to suicide, and a woman dressed as a strawberry. Prince Harry greets runners representing the charity ‘Heads Together’Credit:Luke MacGregor – WPA Pool/Getty Images The Duke, Duchess and Prince attended the marathon in aid of Heads Together, their mental health charity which saw thousands of runners don a bright blue charity headbands to raise awareness.Among the runners was the Telegraph’s Bryony Gordon, who raised more than £35,000 and surpassed her own expectations by finishing in five hours 53 minutes.The stars of the show, the Heads Together runners, celebrated the “extraordinary” reception they had received by cheering members of the public, hailing the royals for all they have done this week to raise awareness. Mr Rees said afterwards: “I saw him try to stand up again and his legs just went down again, and I thought ‘this is more important, getting him across the line is more important than shaving a few seconds off my time’.”Britain’s leading mental campaigners said the Heads Together event marked a “pivotal moment” in the treatment of the illness.Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said the runners and Royals had brought “unprecedented attention” to an overlooked cause, saying people with mental health problems “cannot be overlooked any more”. Paul Farmer, from Mind, said: “Yesterday’s London Marathon, and the Heads Together campaign, marked a pivotal moment for mental health.”In fact, the whole of last week brought unprecedented attention to mental health, but there’s still so much more to do.”Mental health has for too long been overlooked, underfunded and in the shadows.“As more people join the ranks of those willing to speak out about mental health, the demand for change will be unstoppable.” The Telegraph’s Bryony Gordon with her medalCredit:Paul Grover Evan Williams, his brother Ian and friend Graham O’Loughlin broke the world record for the fastest marathon in a three person costume, wrapping themselves in an enormous blue headband to finish in 3 hours 13.Among the everyday heroes cheered on by spectators was Matthew Rees, 29, who sacrificed his own race time to help a fellow runner seen staggering along the final stretch.To raucous cheers, the Swansea-based runner put his the stranger’s arm around his neck and hauled him to the end of the 26.2-mile course. Matthew Rees helped another runner over the lineCredit:ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP The royal trio, wearing black Heads Together tops, spent about half an hour chatting to supporters and whooping and clapping as runners sped past them as they approached the Cutty Sark.Prince Harry and the Duchess took turns waving a giant Heads Together foam hand with pointing finger as runners did a double take when they recognised them.Many stopped to pose for selfies with the royals or ran over to high five them, yelling “Wills and Harry!” as they worked up the nerve to ask for a handshake. Jonny Benjamin (left) and Neil Laybourn (right), who ran together, pictured with Bryony Gordon Credit:John Nguyen The Duke & Duchess Of Cambridge And Prince Harry wave on a runnerCredit:Chris Jackson – WPA Pool/Getty Images The Duchess of Cambridge cheers onCredit: Tim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock The Duke of Cambridge hugs a runner as he hands out water Credit:Chris Jackson/PA Wire Bryony Gordon, the Telegraph columnist who ran the marathon for Heads Together yesterday, said the candid disclosures of Prince Harry and Duke and Duchess of Cambridge this week have opened the floodgates to “smash the stigma”. When meeting royalty, it is usually the custom to drop a polite curtesy, a slight bow or a formal introduction at the very least.When they surprise you at the London Marathon, it appears, protocol is firmly out the window.The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry startled thousands of runners as they appeared at the sidelines of the marathon to cheer them on, dolling out high fives, hugs and handshakes via a comedy foam hand. At the finish line, the royals handed out medals to runners, congratulating them on the achievement of a lifetime. “Well done guys,” the Duke shouted. “Thank you so much,” the Duchess told some of the 700 competitors running on behalf of the Heads Together mental health campaign who came over.Later, the royal trio made a dash to the 22 mile point where they handed out water to exhausted and astonished runners near Shadwell.One runner, dripping with sweat, spotted the Duke and bounded over for a high five.Prince Harry urged many not to break their momentum by stopping for a picture, shouting: “Keep going, come on, come on.” A Kensington Palace spokesman said last night: “The Duke and Duchess and Prince Harry are thrilled that so many runners have chosen to wear Team Heads Together headbands.”Regardless of the great causes they are running for, thousands of people have put on a headband to make this the Mental Health Marathon.”Bryony Gordon said of the marathon: “It was absolutely incredible. It’s been the most amazing week.”The finish line is just the beginning. I genuinely think the floodgates have opened this week. It’s really special and things have really changed.”The more we smash the stigma, the more the powers-that-be have to increase funding and give mental health parity with physical health.”For me, the thing now is to get all the party leaders to pledge to ring fence mental health funding and make it a huge commitment in their manifesto.” Bryony Gordon crosses the finish lineCredit:Paul Grover The three young royals turned the heads of even the most serious of charity runners, who knocked minutes off their times by doubling back to meet them along the route.Shouting encouragement, they bestowed enthusiastic high fives to dozens of runners, pretending to shy away from hugging the sweatiest before drawing them into show their support with a selfie.At one point, they were photographed laughing as the Duke was squirted with water by an over-excited runner as they dashed past the bottled water station.He was later seen wiping dripping water from his right eye, after brother Prince Harry seized the opportunity to squeeze a bottle and squirt him in the face. The three royals were tasked with sounding the klaxon to officially start the race, and set the tone for the day after being photographed larking about with their air horns.At their next appearance, in Greenwich, the Duke and Duchess and Prince Harry were mobbed by runners when they joined Heads Together supporters at a cheering point on the marathon route. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.