One marathon runner received a lot more than a medal and a few blisters at the finish line – she received a proposal!
The UK’s largest animal charity is thanking all of its London marathon runners who have raised more than £30,000 for the RSPCA.
Amongst the runners who were pushed to the limit in the hottest marathon on record, was animal-lover Lucy Williams. She was shocked to receive a proposal from her partner Gary Mitchell when she crossed the finish line.
The proposal in front of all her friends and family was also captured on video.
Lucy, who lives in Solihull, said: “I had no idea it was going to happen. Gary had an injury beforehand and I kept telling him to defer but he was convinced he was going to do the marathon no matter what – and now I know why.
“All my family knew already and he’d picked the ring from the jewellery quarter in Birmingham in January.
“When we finished he was so jumpy and adamant we had to meet up with our family and friends right away. He was limping so when he dropped down on one knee I thought he was about to collapse – and then he proposed! “It was very emotional, we were both crying!
Gary added: “I carried the ring around for the whole race constantly thinking I would drop it or lose it. “The idea of carrying it around was a symbolic gesture of relationships. There will be times you’re loving it and certainly times where you would rather be somewhere else but with perseverance and commitment anything can be achieved.”
Lucy decided to run and raise money for the RSPCA as she has always been an animal lover and had dogs in the family ever since they found their first dog Patch, a collie cross, who was in need of a home.Lucy, who passed the finish line in 4 hours and 47 minutes, added: “It was an amazing experience and I raised a lot of money for a really good cause.”
Nicky Ifould, head of events at the RSPCA said: “A huge congratulations goes to Lucy and Gary after their heartwarming proposal after crossing the finish line. The atmosphere on Sunday was incredible and we would like to thank all of our 20 runners for putting themselves to the test and raising so much money for the RSPCA. “It was a huge achievement, especially in such tough conditions. We’d also like to say a huge thank you to Liforme for supplying the yoga mats for the stretch zone at the post race reception, and to their wonderful yoga instructor Sarah for helping our runners stretch out after the race.
“Thanks also to all our volunteer cheerers, which included staff from DogBuddy, for coming down and supporting our runners at our cheer point.”
The first two RSPCA runners to pass the finish line were Cathy LaFrenais from Hampshire and Mike Hallgarth from Nottinghamshire who both completed the challenge in 4 hours and 34 minutes. This was Cathy’s second challenge for the RSPCA after taking on Brighton marathon in 2017. She wanted to run for the RSPCA after she rehomed a kitten called Momo from the RSPCA Millbrook Animal Centre two years ago. Mike also adopted a patterjack dog called Jake from the charity.
Lisa Lupson, a, RSPCA inspector from the Wirral, came in at 5 hours and 29 minutes and Sam Richardson who was inspired to run after visiting RSPCA Putney Animal Hospital took on the challenge in 5 hours and 50 minutes.
If you are feeling inspired and would like to run for Team Animal in the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon, applications are now open for a charity place which includes support fundraising, an RSPCA running vest and a post run reception.