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Woman running London Marathon for Walton Centre had surprise proposal at the finish line

12 months ago

Woman running London Marathon for Walton Centre had surprise proposal at the finish line

A woman who was running the London Marathon for the Walton Centre, which saved her mum’s life, had a surprise proposal from her partner as she crossed the finish line

Radiographer Katie Rigby, who works at Clatterbridge Cancer Centre in Liverpool and Wirral, tackled the course with boyfriend Sam Evans, with no idea that he was carrying an engagement ring in his pocket the whole time.

It wasn’t until the proposal as he got down on one knee as they completed the 26.2 miles that she realised why he’d been so keen to take a breather at landmarks along the way.

Katie says: “First of all it was in front of Big Ben and I was saying, ‘why are you stopping?’ then he stopped at another point and asked if I wanted to have a rest and I said ‘no keep going’. I thought he must really be injured but he was actually trying to find somewhere nice to propose.

“In the end he asked me as we were on the finish line, and a man who crossed the line just after us whipped out his phone straight away and took a picture of us. That was lovely because if he hadn’t have done that we wouldn’t have had a photo of the moment.”


The couple, who are both 29, have been together for more than 10 years so Katie says Sam has been asked for a while by friends and family when he was going to pop the question.

“But this was the last thing I thought was going to happen especially in such a public place because he’s quite a reserved person,” she adds. 

Katie, who only gave birth to their baby daughter Aurelia nine months ago, got the chance to run alongside Sam when he picked up an injury.

“We’re both keen runners and we both automatically got a place for this London Marathon because we did a good time previously at the Manchester Marathon. 

“Sam is normally much faster than me, he does marathons in around 2hrs50, and I wasn’t going to do it because I’d just had the baby but then I thought, I’m never going to get chance to do it again so I might as well. When Sam got injured about a month ago, he said, ‘why don’t I just run it with you, at your pace’?”

Katie decided to raise money for the Walton Centre which treated her mum Sue when she was diagnosed with a stage 4 brain tumour in January 2021.

“My mum had a melanoma removed about 10 years ago off the top of her ear and at the time they told her it was all clear. Then she started having seizures at the start of 2021, and a scan and found this tumour which was secondary to the melanoma. 

“It was during lockdown so I moved back in to isolate with her and two weeks after her diagnosis, they had her booked in for surgery at the Walton Centre.

“On the morning of her operation I was driving us from our home in Chester and our car was hit by a lorry that was overtaking us. It went into the side, spun us round twice and rolled us over so we ended up on our roof on the side of the carriageway.

“The person in the car behind managed to get us out, but all I was thinking was I needed to get her there for her surgery so she didn’t miss her date. An amazing woman, who was a nurse at Alder Hey, stopped and offered to take mum in her car to the Walton Centre while I stayed waiting for police and ambulance. 

“She went to Aintree A&E, they did a CT scan, that came back fine and she still went in for surgery the same day. She was home in two days, the whole experience was so good and everyone we met was lovely.”

Although 69-year-old Sue’s cancer isn’t curable, it is treatable and she’s been having immunotherapy every four weeks at Clatterbridge since her operation to keep the tumour at bay. 

Katie says her she’s made an incredible recovery. “She’s very fit, active and healthy, you wouldn’t even know she was having treatment.”

The whole family now has a wedding look forward after Sam’s memorable proposal.

“My mum was the only one who knew he was going to ask,” says Katie. “I don’t really wear jewellery so I think he was struggling about a ring. My mum and dad have been separated for a while and she found the engagement ring that my dad gave to her, showed it to Sam and asked if he wanted to give it to me. I’m really close to my mum and dad so that made it even more special.”

Find the Just Giving page here.



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