Tuesday 20 March 2018

Couple go the extra mile to leave hearts racing at the finish line

May Gin Liew and Alan McKenna after running the Dublin Marathon in 2010.
May Gin Liew and Alan McKenna after running the Dublin Marathon in 2010.
The couple on their wedding day in 2012
Patricia Murphy

Patricia Murphy

A couple who met at the starting line of the Dublin Marathon five years ago will run the race on Monday as man and wife.

Alan McKenna (41) and May Gin Liew (31) found love during the course of the annual 26-mile race, marrying 18 months after crossing the finish line.

"At the time I lived in Nottingham and decided to run the Dublin Marathon with some friends," said Alan. "We're teachers and it was half-term so we decided to just go and do it."

"May is from Malaysia and she had seen the movie Leap Year. Although it's set in Connemara and is such a terrible film it made her fall in love with Ireland. She's a city girl and really wanted to visit and decided to do the marathon.

"Out of 15,000 people I remember seeing her really clearly at the starting line," he added.

Although now a seasoned runner, Alan revealed he was quite unfit when he decided to take on the challenge of running a marathon five years ago. He had not trained properly and by the time he reached mile 16 he was running only every second mile.

"We kept passing one another and we spoke briefly enough to introduce ourselves. In the end she beat me," he added. "I saw her at the finish line and I congratulated her. We arranged to meet up the next day and I showed her around Dublin.

"We had such a good time that the next day we went to the Giant's Causeway." May deferred her travel plans and visited Alan in Nottingham.

"There we fell in love and we got married. We had a Jaffa-cake wedding cake as we shared them at the finish line in Dublin," Alan said.

"We visited Dingle on our honeymoon where I beat her in a marathon for the first time. Since we have been married we have run marathons in Venice, Helsinki and Rotterdam.

The couple, who are now based in Croyden, UK, will return to Dublin this weekend to mark their fifth anniversary running the Dublin marathon.

Irish Independent

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