Yorkshire spirit prevails to provide a marathon of memorable moments

A host of highlights at the Asda Foundation Yorkshire Marathon Festival included emotional scenes with terminally-ill Sean Coxhead, an ultramarathon qualification for a 73-year-old veteran and a marriage proposal.

Yesterday’s Asda Foundation Yorkshire Marathon and Yorkshire 10 Mile enjoyed highlights including emotional scenes at the finish with terminally-ill Sean Coxhead, an ultramarathon qualification for a 73-year-old veteran and a marriage proposal – she said yes.

True Yorkshire spirit prevailed on Sunday as over 10,000 runners braved the rain and dished up an Asda Foundation Yorkshire Marathon Festival that will stay in the memories of runners, volunteers, spectators and organisers for a long time to come.

It was an emotional day for local family man Sean Coxhead who was diagnosed with incurable cancer in May this year. After his diagnosis, Sean became determined to run his home marathon one last time for MacMillan Cancer Support.

The 36-year-old crossed the finish line with his team from Good Gym – where Sean is a task force member – and was swarmed by a sea of fans.

Speaking to the Yorkshire Post at the finish, an emotional Sean said: “It feels fantastic. It’s amazing. It’s been horrific weather and it’s been hard, but the crowds have been great and cheered us on.

“You can’t stop. You have to push on and keep going and not let things like this stop you.”

Moments after Sean crossed the line, 73-year-old Brian Williams darted down the home straight to create a couple of action packed minutes. Coming home with a time of 4 hours 49 minutes and 42 seconds, the veteran runner qualified for his first ever Comrades Marathon – 53 years after injury had prevented him from running the race.

Brian is the father of the COO of Park Run Global and a presenter on Marathon Talk, Tom Williams, who went to social media to express his joy: “What a day! Dad was on his absolute limit from mile 20, but somehow managed to hang on for a @ComradesRace qualifier by a whopping 17 seconds.”

It was also a day that will live long in the memory for York couple Sam Beavers and Nicole Hartley who are engaged after Sam proposed at the finish line.

Reliving the moment on social media, Nicole said: “Yes even after a marathon, Sam went down on one knee - though it took absolute effort and time.

“My hands were so swollen at the time; I could only get the ring on my little finger!”

In addition, the inspirational Matt Burke, from Hull, caught everyone’s eye. Matt completed his first marathon just six years into recovering from a brain injury that left him struggling to walk and talk.

“Six years ago I was on deaths door. I did this marathon to show people that you can bounce back from whatever life throws at you”, said Yorkshireman Matt.

A host of celebrities also provided memorable moments, with Tony Audenshaw - who plays Bob Hope in Emmerdale - officially starting the Asda Foundation Yorkshire Marathon and Educating Yorkshire favourite Matthew Burton officially starting the Asda Foundation Yorkshire 10 Mile. The pair did not disappoint and entertained crowds with cheeky one-liners before joining runners to take on their respective races.

An early bird offer is now available at www.runforall.com in which all Asda Foundation Yorkshire Marathon and 10 Mile finishers can enter the 2019 Asda Foundation Yorkshire Marathon for £40. General entrants have also been offered an early bird discount entry price of £45.

The Asda Yorkshire Marathon Festival is staged under the umbrella of Jane Tomlinson's Run For All, the not-for-profit organisation behind the popular Asda Foundation 10K Series, plus, half marathons in Leeds, Sheffield, Hull and Derby.

These events, along with the marathon, stand as part of the lasting legacy of the late fundraiser and campaigner Jane Tomlinson who raised almost £2m for charity by tackling a series of epic challenges, including cycling over 4,000 miles across America, despite being diagnosed with incurable cancer.

Since its launch in 2013, the Asda Foundation Yorkshire Marathon Festival has raised countless amounts for charity. This year the partner charities included - the Jane Tomlinson Appeal, Macmillan Cancer Support, Candlelighters, The Children’s Hospital Charity, Alzheimer’s Society, Martin House Children’s Hospice, Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice, St Leonard’s Hospice, St Gemma’s Hospice and the Stroke Association.

The marathon is supported by Asda Foundation, Aftershokz, Up & Running, Runderwear, LTS, City of York Council, High 5 Sports Nutrition, Erdinger, University of York, Yorkshire Post, bananakick, York Sport, Arla Protein, BBC Radio York and Hertz.

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