Carl’s proposal goes the extra mile

A ROMANTIC pair of runners will be sprinting to the altar after a shock proposal during the London Marathon.

Carl Vella, 35, decided to pop the question to his girlfriend, Mandy Haynes, 46, at mile 22 of the gruelling course last weekend.

The sporting suitor leapt over the barrier as Mandy ran past, before dropping down on one knee to ask for her hand in marriage.

Carl, a race director at the Red Lodge Karting centre, said: “It all slotted together and I thought it would be a nice surprise. I was shaking like a leaf, I was so nervous.”

The happy couple, who live in Red Lodge, met as members of the Haverhill Running Club and still train together three or four times a week.

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Although Carl did not win a place in the 26.2-mile race on Sunday, he cheered Mandy on from the sidelines with around 100 members of the running website,

“I told the marshal I was going to propose and just jumped over the barrier,” Carl said. “I went down on one knee in the middle of the road. People just jogged past me and it was really nice as they were all smiling.”

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Mandy, a teaching assistant at Chalkstone Middle School in Haverhill, said she was stunned to find Carl kneeling in the road ahead.

“When I got to mile 22, I saw him in front of me on his knee on the ground,” she said. “I thought he had fallen and injured himself so I started to panic.

“But then he proposed and I was completely and utterly stunned. It was very emotional.”

It was the first time Mandy had entered the London marathon, which she went on to complete in four hours and 58 minutes. The whole day for me was beyond belief,” she said. “The atmosphere was fantastic.

“If you are a runner, proposing at the marathon is one of the most romantic places really. It was a once-in-a-lifetime day.”

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