Wiganer Neil Tyrer returned from the London Marathon with more than his medal - he also now has a fiancee!
The 40-year-old surprised his partner Lisa Hollinshead by proposing as he ran the 26.2-mile course.
He had secretly bought a ring she had admired at her favourite jewellery shop in Wigan town centre and carried it in a pouch as he ran.
And he told Lisa, 44, to be at mile 22, at the support point for Ambitious About Autism, his chosen charity.
It was there that Neil stopped and, as Lisa was going to take a photograph, he turned round to remove his running vest and reveal a proposal on the back of his T-shirt. It read: “Lisa will you marry me”.
Neil got out the ring and turned back round to present it to Lisa, before the pair sealed their engagement with a kiss.
Neil still had another four miles to run - but he was able to celebrate with his sweetheart once he crossed the finish line.
He said: “I’m over the moon. It’s two big achievements in one day. It couldn’t have gone any better. My biggest worry was that she wouldn’t be at mile 22 and I wouldn’t be able to do it, but she was there.”
The romantic moment was filmed and the video was posted on Ambitious About Autism’s Facebook page.
It had been viewed more than 168,000 times by yesterday afternoon and scores of people left their best wishes.
I’m over the moon. It’s two big achievements in one dayNeil Tyrer
Neil, who lives in Pemberton, said: “We have been watching it and seeing how many views it’s had and how many shares. It’s surreal.”
The charity’s supporters were not the only people congratulating the couple - there were flowers and other gifts waiting when they returned to their hotel room.
The couple, who have been in a relationship for two and a half years, returned to Wigan yesterday but have no wedding plans yet.
Neil said: “Once I have recovered properly we will probably sit down and talk about it in the next week or two.”
He ran the London marathon as part of a fund-raising campaign in aid of Ambitious About Autism.
He chose the charity as his seven-year-old stepson was diagnosed with ADHD and is going through the autistic panel, while his cousin’s three children are also on the autistic spectrum.
He dressed as Forrest Gump for many of his fund-raisers, which included a charity night, car boot sales, cake sales, bucket collections and bag packing. He chose Forrest Gump as he believes he was on the autistic spectrum.
Neil had the name “Forrest” on the front of his running vest and completed the marathon in five hours 36 minutes and 45 seconds.
He has so far raised more than £3,000 for charity and donations can still be made here