Many are forced to drop to their knees during the grueling 26 miles and 385 yards of the London Marathon but for one man, the moment that he did would change his life forever.
It was a year ago that Gregg Clark decided that not only would he take part in the world’s single largest fundraising event, and one of the toughest physical challenges available, but that the London Marathon would be where he would propose to his girlfriend Lydia Solomon.
Choosing to run in aid of the Sick Children's Trust, where Lydia works as a community fundraiser, Gregg told Civil Society that he spent most of the year in advance raising money (to date he has raised almost £1,000) and "trying to work out her ring size without her knowing".
When Sunday came, Gregg had twice the pressure of the average runner, but twice the motivation:
"As I got nearer the halfway mark I found myself just thinking, in 20 minutes I’m going to be engaged, in ten minutes I’m going to be engaged..."
But as he reached the halfway point, where he knew Lydia would be waiting, the strain suddenly showed as he was first unable to find her, and then his securely zipped pocket holding the ring turned from safe hiding place to inpenetrable barrier:
"I kept patting it the whole way just to make sure it was still there and actually when I went to propose I couldn’t undo the zip because I was shaking so much."
"I told her if she doesn’t say yes I’m going to get cramp and not be able to finish"
And it wasn’t just the groom-to-be that felt the nerves after he eventually found Lydia on the sidelines and bent down on one knee:
"She thought she’d said yes," said Gregg, "but I think she was so in shock, she hadn't and I told her if she doesn’t say yes I’m going to get cramp and not be able to finish."
But while Lydia did say yes, Gregg’s marathon luck took a turn for the worse as he continued the race. Just under one mile from the finish line he collapsed and was carried off the track, suffering from a temperature of 40 degrees and with a heart rate of 220.
"It would be good to be able to say it was the proposal, but it was just so hot. I couldn’t breathe. But the guys were great, I don’t know if they were helpers or St John’s Ambulance people but there were guys who carried me away and looked after me. I just remember asking them 'have I finished, have I got my medal?'... and they told me I hadn’t."
It was a difficult moment for Gregg - having trained for a year and desperate to top off the day with a medal, he wasn’t prepared to give up on the race. So he returned to the track for his final few metres and as he crossed the finish line was met by a jubilant Mum.
Gregg and Lydia now plan to get married in two years, after some fundraising of their own.
If you would like to sponsor Gregg and the Sick Children’s Trust see his Virgin Money Giving page.