Marathon runner pops the question

MARRIAGE should be a marathon not a sprint - and for one loved-up couple a run through the streets of London will lead to a walk up the aisle.

Russell Claydon

MARRIAGE should be a marathon not a sprint - and for one loved-up couple a run through the streets of London will lead to a walk up the aisle.

Paul Coleman dropped down to one knee after running 13 miles of yesterday's London Marathon after picking out his partner Jackie McClurkin in the watching crowds.

But the break in his race wasn't down to tiredness - and Paul, 43, surprised the life out of Jackie, 40, by popping the question.

Thankfully, she said “yes” but things had not gone exactly to plan. Romantic Paul had hoped to change into a top hat and tails for the proposal and to put a ring on Jackie's finger - but amongst the crowds he couldn't find his friend who had brought them.

So, by the time the catering manager saw Jackie, a mother-of-two, in the crowd again at 25 miles, he did it again - and did it properly, to the delight of the watching crowds.

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The couple from Stanton, near Bury St Edmunds, had more than Paul's marathon finish to celebrate by the time he crossed the line in an admirable five hours 45 minutes.

Paul, 43, who was running his third and final marathon, said: “I proposed the first time at 13 miles but the ring and top hat and tails did not arrive and I re-did it at 25 miles and she said 'yes' both times.

“She had a bit longer to think about it but we are very happy.

“It was an incredibly emotional day for me and Jackie and the children and took a few months planning on my behalf.”

Paul, who was raising money for the Action for Children charity, said his second proposal was “slightly more difficult”, adding: “I did not know if I would be able to get up again!”

Jackie, who started dating Paul 13 months ago, said: “Talk about putting me on the spot! I had no idea at all and it was a great surprise.

“When he first went down on his knees I thought he was struggling and could not carry on.

“Then he asked me to marry him and I said 'of course I will but you did not have to ask me here'. I just kept pinching myself. I could not believe it.”