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A marathon proposal for his childhood sweetheart

February 17th, 2016 7:20 AM

By Jackie Keogh

David Mellamphy kisses his fiancé Elaine Murphy after he surprised her with an engagement ring at the finish line for last weekend's Waterfront Marathon in Clonakilty. He joked with reporters afterwards, saying, ‘I knew she'd be too exhausted to turn around and run away.'

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IT was a first for the Clonakilty Waterfront Marathon – a proposal on the finish line.

She – Elaine Murphy (29) from Waterloo near Blarney in Cork – said ‘yes’ and he, David Mellamphy, her intended, was euphoric at the result.

He joked with reporters, saying,  ‘I knew she’d be too exhausted to turn around and run away.’ 

The couple, both CPA qualified accountants, are now looking forward to living happily ever after in the home they are hoping will be ready to move into in March, but the actual wedding won’t happen until 2017.

David said he had planned popping the question during a romantic trip to the Cliffs of Moher in a couple of weeks’ time, but he got Dutch courage after attending a stag party at the weekend. In a totally romantic and thoughtful gesture, David arranged for Elaine’s parents, and his, to be there at the finish line when he went down on bended knee.

He even had “Will you marry me?” emblazoned on his race bib so Elaine – after completing her third half marathon in one hour and 54 minutes – was in no doubt that she had one more test to pass. Both – the race and her response – were a personal best.

But this couple have history, serious history: they started national school together at the age of four. And David, a golfer, claims: ‘I spotted her then in the sandbox.’

They even have a school First Communion class photo in common, but they actually only started dating while studying business in CIT.

Speaking to The Southern Star Bob Hilliard, one of the organisers of the Clonakilty Waterfront Marathon, said he and his wife, Maria, were thrilled to be in on the secret.

Friends of Bob and Maria said they too are ‘seasoned runners and romantics’, having renewed their own wedding vows no less than four times.

But it was as the event organiser that Bob declared the Clonakilty Waterfront Marathon a successful day all round, despite the horrendous weather. He said: ‘There were 1,400 runners taking part in full and half marathons and they had to contend with really dreadful conditions,’ and he recalled that the event – which is normally held in the lead-up to Christmas – had to be cancelled due to more inclement weather.

Although Storm Imogen wasn’t in full swing on Saturday – she saved the worst for a truly terrifying display of 130km winds and torrential rain on Sunday night – the runners in the sixth annual marathon had to struggle against driving wind and rain.

Anyone interested in hearing more can tune into the Today programme on RTÉ1 on Friday – it’s a Valentine’s Special.

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