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Friday 9 December 2016

Couple who found love at the Dublin Marathon get set to run it five years later - as a married couple

May and Alan pictured at the Dublin Marathon five years ago
May and Alan pictured at the Dublin Marathon five years ago

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

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

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

“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. I still have this image of her bouncing around trying to keep warm,” he said.

Alan McKenna and his wife May Gin Liew ran the Dingle marathon on their honeymoon
Alan McKenna and his wife May Gin Liew ran the Dingle marathon on their honeymoon

Although now a seasoned runner, Alan revealed that he was quite unfit when he decided to take on the challenge five years ago.

“To be honest, I really hadn’t trained properly for the race and by the time I reached mile 16 I was only running every second mile. We kept passing one another and we spoke briefly enough to introduce ourselves. In the end she beat me!

“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.”

Realising they had found something special in one another, May decided to defer her travel plans briefly in order for the pair to get to know one another better.

“May had planned to go travelling but after that weekend we really wanted to get to know one another better so she came to 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.

“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,” he said.

Alan McKenna and his wife May Gin Liew met at the Dublin Marathon five years ago
Alan McKenna and his wife May Gin Liew met at the Dublin Marathon five years ago

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

“It’s been five years since we met in Dublin and we’re running the marathon together on Monday which will be really special. May is nursing an injury at the moment which gives me an advantage. I might beat her this time!”

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