Stepping out: Shropshire marathon star Amy Hughes runs into the arms of love
Shropshire runner Amy Hughes found herself into the record books when she ran 53 marathons in 53 days – and ran into a new love as well.
Long-term friend Dave Keighley was one of her support crew who followed her every move during the challenge.
And now they are a couple after growing close as Amy raised £30,000 for charity.
The 26-year-old today described how her run of more than 1,300 miles had changed her life.
She covered the country during her 53-day run, taking in London, Liverpool, Wolverhampton, Newcastle, Glasgow and Cardiff as well as local towns such as Shrewsbury, Llangollen and her own home town Oswestry.
The sports therapist is now the face of two major clothing brands, is involved with the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, has teamed up with iconic children's programme Blue Peter and has started a new job at one of the top country clubs in the north west.
But, most importantly, she has found new love in the shape of Dave.
At her side throughout the 53 days, often cycling over the 26 miles, their friendship blossomed and as Amy crossed the line at the end of the challenge she thanked two people, Lyn Mitton and Dave.
"Neither of us expected to fall in love, it just happened," Dave said.
"We are really happy and I am so proud of Amy."
Working himself in the security profession, he is now often by her side as she accepts invitations to major events and speaking engagements.
Amy said the past six months had been a whirlwind of experiences and opportunities.
Among the most unusual has been Amy's chance to become one of the faces of lingerie company Panache and also an ambassador for sportswear specialists, Brooks.
She said: "Following my 53 marathons in 53 days challenge last year, I've been approached and given some fantastic opportunities. I have spoken at Running Expos which has been amazing and I am currently working with Blue Peter at the BBC and have been training one of their presenters, Lindsey Russell, to run her first marathon at the London Marathon this year.
"I've decided to take on the challenge myself, but I will not only be running the marathon but will also be running the 220-mile journey from my hometown Oswestry to London ahead of the big day. I will also be starting from the celebrity start line which is unbelievable."
April will also see Amy attend the Running Awards 2015 night at the 02 to get her award for being named best running moment of the year, beating the emotional finish as runner Hyvon Hgetich crawled to the line in the Austin marathon and even Mo Farah's indoor tw0-mile world record.
"I am also honoured to be presenting an award on the night," she said.
"Not wanting to leave behind my love of running, I have already entered and raced a few events this year, ranging from 10K races to marathons. You'll find me participating at the Brooks Brighton 10K in November.
"I've also been lucky enough to be asked to speak about my 53:53 challenge at events and businesses across the country. One message I'm keen to promote is the importance of regular exercise and activities in schools.
"To add to all of this, I am currently working for The Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, and have a lot of exciting projects on the horizon. In a few months I'll be swapping my running shoes for a bike and cycling from London to Paris in aid of the worthwhile cause.
"I was touched at the support and encouragement I received both during and after my 53:53 venture and it too has motivated and inspired me to start up my own charity, The 53 Foundation, which will raise money to help people with disabilities get active."
"I completed my 53 marathons challenge in Brooks Running shoes and have always been a big fan so I'm delighted to have been given the opportunity to join the team as a Brooks ambassador."
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