Shane Callaghan, 28, from Carlow, set his plan in motion to propose to girlfriend Marguerite Kinsella, 32, earlier this year, when he signed the Mater Hospital nurse up for the 42 km run without her knowledge.
And as he set about helping her train for the event, his second marathon, Shane, kept his proposal a secret from everyone, aside from asking for the blessing of his and Marguerite’s parents.
“I got the idea back in May,” Shane said. “I’d been training for the marathon and Marguerite had never done a marathon but said she always liked the idea, so I signed her up and we started training together.
“I just remembered the first marathon I’d done and getting to the finishing line and being so emotional, I cried and I thought what better way to propose than in such an amazing moment.”
Shane finished the race after 3 hours 49 minutes and went to get changed and plant himself at the finishing line with ring in hand for Marguerite. She finished the marathon after 4 hours 50 and was stunned when she saw her partner on one knee.
“I thought he’d hurt himself,” Marguerite said. “I went over to see he was okay but then he proposed.
“I was so delighted to finish the marathon because I never thought I’d be able to do one but then this. I was thrilled. I am not one for public displays but now it’s done and it will be so memorable - the last thing ever I expected, so it makes it nicer.”
Farm adviser Shane had been “so supportive” during training for the marathon, Marguerite said. “I remember going into work and getting an email saying I was going to the Dublin Marathon and I wanted to kill him.
“But he gave me the confidence and support to know I could do it. I think he was expecting me to be crying and exhausted at the finish line but honestly, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
“It was hard but the crowd got me through it.”
Shane said he knew he would “hit a wall” while running but added “I had to run right through it to get to the finish line to propose.”
The couple have been together for two-and-a-half years and met in a bar in Carlow on a night out with friends.
Though Shane had kept the proposal a secret, he finally revealed what he was up to his sister in the final moments, as she was in the crowd with his mother. She traced where Marguerite was on the Dublin Marathon app on her phone, so Shane would know when to expect her at the finish line.
“The security were wanting me to move on, so I had to explain to them I was waiting to propose to my girlfriend and they got on board,” Shane said.
“But then a crowd started gathering round and a photographer saw and found out and then the rest is history.”
There was only one slight hiccup during the day. The promise ring Shane had bought Marguerite was too small to fit comfortably on her finger, so yesterday the couple went shopping in Dublin to buy the perfect engagement ring before heading home to Carlow.
Marguerite ran to raise funds or ICU Steps, an intensive care support charity and Shane raised funds with Pauly’s Bootcamp in Carlow, who were at the marathon to raise money for a Carlow 7-year-old Callie Kavanagh.
The child has been diagnosed with rare cancer Ewing’s Sarcoma. The funds, still being counted, will go towards helping her get her wish of going to Disney World.