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Bridgnorth's Lauren runs right into proposal of marriage - on the Great Wall of China

By Jordan Reynolds | Bridgnorth | News | Published:

A Bridgnorth runner beat thousands to be the second woman over the finish line in a marathon along the Great Wall of China - to be met by a proposal on the podium.

Lauren on the podium after claiming second place in the women's category. Right, newly engaged Lauren and Alex.

Lauren Draper, 29, ran 26 miles in up to 40°C heat on Saturday, and came 17th overall.

When she reached the podium she was met by her boyfriend Alex Cooper who asked her to marry him.

The Bridgnorth Running Club member finished the marathon with a time of four hours and 31 minutes, second to a runner from Sweden.

Alex proposing to Lauren on the podium. Picture: the official Great Wall highlights video

Lauren said: "It was pretty unbelievable when I finished second lady. The temperature got up to 40 degrees. I didn't know how I would cope with the heat and humidity as you can't train for that in England.

"It was an extremely tough course, I guess that's why it's in the top 10 hardest marathons in the world.

"The start of the race took you up a 5km hill to the wall so they didn't start you of easy. Then once you reach the wall it is much tougher than you could imagine I couldn't run much of it due to the steep steps and slopes that were very dangerous so hand rails came in use.

"The views are amazing from the wall. The rest of the route took you around villages and many of the local Chinese people and children were very excited to see us run by, taking pictures high-fiving and waving.

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"There was a lack of any shade to run under but I made use of the many water stations sipping constantly as I was always feeling thirsty and knew I need to keep hydrated, I was glad I wore a cap.

"Once I came back into the square where we started you have to run the wall again but in the other direction this was much tougher as you had to climb up the steep slope which was loose tiles and stones.

Lauren on the Great Wall of China

"I got cramp in both my calves on this point, mile 22 to 23, which meant I was sat on the wall for 10 minutes with a paramedic massaging my leg the whole time, thinking people have told me I'm second lady and I don't want to lose that now.

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"I was waiting for the third lady to come running past but luckily I had a big enough lead on her before they got me going again. I crawled up the last few parts of the steps and got my pace going again running carefully not to aggravate my calves for the last three miles down hill climb to the finish in the square."

Lauren said it is a day she will "treasure forever".

She added: "It was the most incredible feeling to finish and be the second lady home. I never expected to be anywhere near the top places.

"I was also very relieved to finish it took everything out of me, I'm not sure I would put myself through it again.

"Then to be met with a proposal by my boyfriend on the podium in such a spectacular place amongst this Great Wall was an overwhelming feeling a day I shall treasure forever.

"I think about 3,000 took part in it but that many colapsed due to exhaustion and the heat- it was the hottest it's been for The Great Wall marathon."

Lauren has raised £1,438 in donations for Cancer Research UK so far.

For more information, or to donate, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/Lauren-Draper3?utm_id=80

Jordan Reynolds

By Jordan Reynolds
Reporter - @jreynolds_star

Reporter for the Shropshire Star covering Bridgnorth and the surrounding areas.

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