Romantic end to 100-mile charity challenge

Ian Duxbury and Kate Wyse
Ian Duxbury and Kate Wyse

The feelings of relief and pride in completing such a grand challenge would be enough for most crossing the finish line of a 100 mile charity run.

But Ian Duxbury had other things on his mind as within seconds he was down on one knee proposing to his long-term girlfriend Kate Wyse.

The 30-year-old teacher from Standish took just under 26 hours to complete the North Downs Way race this weekend.

And throughout the gruelling 103 mile route he had the all-important engagement ring stashed in his kit.

Asking Kate for her hand in marriage in such a way was his only chance of keeping the life-changing moment a secret, he told the Observer.

He said: “I’ve been planning it for months but if I had booked for us to go away for a weekend, or something like that, she would have known something was going on. This was the only way she would be surprised with it.

“The first thing Kate said to me was: are you joking? It was the perfect way to recognise all the support she has given me, I wouldn’t have been able to do this without her.”

Ian was running for charity Revitalise and has already surpassed his fund-raising target.

He braved scorching hot conditions during the race which saw 90 of the 240 starting competitors drop out.

Meticulous planning helped Ian power through along with months of physical preparation, including running or cycling his 15 mile commute to work each day.

He said: “Breaking (the 100 miles) into manageable chunks was key. You’re on your feet for 24 hours so you know you’re going to be tired. But I tried to stay positive by thinking ahead to the next checkpoint, I didn’t want to be insular about it.

“After the 55 mile stage you were allowed to have someone run alongside to keep you going and I made sure I spoke to someone at each checkpoint, even when I was really tired.

“It also took a lot of planning to find the best ways to stay hydrated.”

Ian, a former Winstanley College student, met Kate, a 31-year-old forensic psychologist, at university and the pair will be planning the wedding from their London home. He chose to raise funds for Revitalise, a charity which provides much-needed breaks for disabled people and carers, having seen at first hand the benefits of respite care during his teaching career.

He said: “I’ve been quite overwhelmed by the support. The initial target was to raise around £600 but we’re now up to £1,500 and people I haven’t spoken to for years have donated. It has been very humbling.”

For more information visit www.revitalise.org.uk or to donate visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ianduxbury100miles