Callum Hawkins, running for Scotland, collapsed twice just two kilometres from victory. Hawkins, who was fourth at the World Championships past year, was reported one hour after the race to be conscious.
Hawkins was clear of the field, when he started to run erratically around the 39km mark of the 42.195km race on Australia's Gold Coast. Temperatures reached 28 degrees by the late stages of the race.
And in the two minutes or so it took for professional help to arrive no one among the spectators offered the stricken athlete any help.
As he lied crumpled on the ground a group of spectators were spotted talking to him.
With still no rival in sight, Hawkins crumbled to the road, writhing. "Somebody please come and help him".
Hawkins, speaking from hospital, said: "Thanks for all your messages of support today and to the Gold Coast University Hospital staff".
Hawkins did not finish the race.
In his mind Shelley had settled for the silver medal, as the "jelly legs" took effect.
Sonia Samuels led home the Brits in the women's marathon in fifth as Namibia's Helelalia Johannes took gold. However, his uprightness did not last long as he again fell, this time hitting his head on a rail by the roadside.
Staggeringly, Hawkins had to wait several minutes before receiving medical attention, forcing organisers to defend their protocols.
BBC Sport commentator Steve Cram said it was "a disgrace" it took so long for any paramedics to attend to Hawkins. He's going to hurt himself and there's nobody anywhere near.
"Where on earth is the help?" he said.
"I thought hopefully I can get to the finish line because I was starting to get cramps in my hands".
"Mr Peters said he was seeking more facts on the incident but 'you can't have medical people on every kilometre of the road. they (medical staff) are professionally positioned". "I think it's disgraceful".
The Gold Coast Commonwealth Games said in a statement there were no major concerns for the athlete. I tried to run my race.
His father (and coach) Robert Hawkins was a top distance runner.
"I kind of look up to Callum as being someone who has been there, at the World Championships, getting fourth place and having the Scottish record for the half marathon".
"I was like "oh jeez, here we go".
"I saw him (Callum) on the Sundale Bridge and thought 'Oh s***' and just tried to hang on".
"So to see someone like that, who I respect so much just lying there, it was terrible". I'm glad to finish, to be honest. "I was thinking I needed to get to the line before the same thing happened to me, and try and hold on to a medal".
"If you want it, you have to work for it", said the victor, who also secured 1500m silver on the Gold Coast.
He had been more than two minutes in front of Aussie Michael Shelley in second spot. But there is one thing more important than that, his health. Then he hit a lamppost, before carrying on in a faltering run into the stadium. Some onlookers were ill, just watching his stumbling, crawling, weaving trauma.
Australia led at the athletics competition with 12 gold.
The Jamaicans won 10 gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow four years ago but managed just seven on the Gold Coast.
He fell. He got up. "I live here and train here all the time". I don't remember anything else.
When the course clerk and chief medical officer helped him that was the end.
On Twitter, Paula Radcliffe was also critical of the medical response. "I mean it, trust me, I'm coming with everything I've got". "What have I done here?"