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Marathon Wedding Proposal

By David Carlisle

I have a weird obsession or two I admit it. Maybe the obsession started when I was twenty six years old. For some reason, I just went for a jog one day and seemed to enjoy it. I found that the more I ran, the more I loved it and the better I became. I had been experiencing some hip problems but my obsession certainly outweighed the pain I was feeling.

When I was 29 years old, my best mate told me abut his dad’s death and, after a few beers we vowed to “Raish azh mooch money azh we kood for the ha spittle.” The hospital in question would be two in fact – one intensive care unit and a cancer care hospice.

Now my lover’s obsession started when I was 30 years old. I looked into Sue’s pale green eyes and saw my future wife looking back at me. She didn’t know it yet. She had already been a wife and didn’t like the idea much. I needed a plan.

My three obsessions; running, raising money for charity and the love of my life needed to be combined into one outrageous spectacle. My plan was to take them all out, for a run in the London Marathon 1999.

Sue doesn’t like fuss and hates to be centre of attention, so with total disregard for Sue’s wishes I planned to propose my marriage live on BBC TV during the run. All I needed was a guarantee of an interview. The wedding dress was my chosen weapon. People paid me money to wear the dress – for £1 a go, they tried to predict my winning time to the benefit of the charities mentioned.

I wanted to avoid the possibility of mistaken gender, so I arrived on the start line unshaven. This didn’t work completely as a couple had decided to get married on the route and more than a few old dears actually confused me for the real bride. I overheard one of them say, “Maybe a little make up would help a wee bit.”

It was only after I’d been out on the course for thirteen miles that a TV crew showed any interest in me. “Hey that’s not a real bride”, they shouted into their radio microphones, “let’s get him at mile 17.”

Get me they did. I stopped running and did a three minute proposal to camera. At mile 23, I stopped at the next interview spot for a reprise with the BBC’s commentator who said, “I’ll be hoping she says yes”, and smiled as I pranced toward the finish line.

At the end of the run after at forty two marriage proposals from the crowd and runners en route, I crossed the line and got my medal.

Looking back on my last ever marathon, I remember a few things:
• The race announcer thought I was in the race as an exotic Mother Theresa.
• Sue did say “yes”
• Las Vegas followed in an eloping blur a month later
• Over £1200 went to the local cancer care hospice
• Running is OK, but it wears out hips pretty quickly – I’m waiting for a new one and I’m now so un-hip it’s a wonder my bum doesn’t fall off

I knew that my running days were numbered when I set about doing the marathon and suffered terrific pain at about 14 miles into it, but nothing like the pain endured on a daily basis by those who suffer from cancer and the hideous treatment that shoe-horns it out of the body like a stubborn tenant. The dress is still in my attic just in case I can jog at all after upcoming surgery. I love my wife and love even more that we're together - the dress, the race and the good old BBC bought us together. I often teach people about various matters and always ask them to tell me one thing about themselves that few others know - I always tell them about the dress and how raising a hemline and suffering a bit can raise cash and turn a run into a worthwhile cause.

David works as a Environmental Health Officer for a local council in Staffordshire, England




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