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Friday, April 16, 1999 Published at 16:00 GMT 17:00 UK


Run for your wife!

Marriagethon: Mick Gambrill and Barbara Cole

A couple are taking the biggest day of their lives in their stride.

Mick Gambrill, 46, and Barbara Cole, 43, are getting married while they run the London Marathon.

Marathon-mad Mick first asked Barbara to step out with him while training for endurance races at a sports complex in Lanzarote.

The BBC's Geraint Hughes speaks to marathon couple Mick Gumbrill and Barbara Cole
The couple from Croydon, south London, got engaged while running the Disney Marathon on New Year's Eve 1997.

And on Sunday they are tying the knot as they wind their way round London's streets - the first couple to do so in a marathon.

Wearing custom-made wedding outfits designed by Jeff Banks, the couple will make a pit-stop at Charlton House, a Jacobean house near Greenwich, south London, where a registrar will marry them.

'Just perfect'

They will then re-join the other runners to complete the rest of the gruelling 26.2 mile race.

Teacher Barbara, said: "This will be a dream come true. We spend our lives running marathons and thought it would be just perfect to get married during one.

"It's going to be the day of our lives and we're absolutely thrilled."

The marathon is renowned for its success as a charity fundraising event - tens of thousands of runners raise sponsorship for charities of their choice, making their efforts count for worthy causes.

Charity record

John Spurling, aged 59, a London-based semi-retired advertising executive, is on course to raise £1m for charity on his debut this Sunday in the 1999 Flora London Marathon.

This would be the largest sum of money ever raised for charity in any marathon anywhere by one runner.

Mr Spurling, who is raising money for the Animal Health Trust and the Lord's Taverners, had no running experience and over the last 40 years has only played golf.

But he has been in training since July, under the guidance of former Olympic champion Seb Coe.

The biggest amount raised by a single runner in London was £440,000, collected by City tycoon Sir Roger Gibbs in 1982.

The BBC's Rachel Ellison reports on the London Marathon's oldest female entrant
Scottish octogenarian Jenny Wood Allen will break her own world record when she runs in the London Marathon.

At the age of 87, she will once again be the oldest female competitor in the race.

Jenny, from Dundee, is determined to beat last year's "disappointing" time of seven hours and 23 minutes.

[ image: Jenny Wood Allen: The charity money keeps me coming back]
Jenny Wood Allen: The charity money keeps me coming back
Jenny was a relative youngster of 71 when she took up marathon running and has since completed 29 marathons raising over £30,000 for charity.

She used to hold the record for the world's best time for a woman over 70.

Jenny said: "I expect I will turn up again next year and I will keep on going as long as the legs keep moving.

"It's the money for charity that keeps me going back."

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14 Apr 99†|†Sport
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