THE rainy weather could not stop these love birds showing their devotion at the St Helens 10k on Sunday, with one couple even getting engaged minutes after crossing the finish line.

Neil Gilhooley, 45, popped the question to girlfriend Lutchie Salundro, 36, just outside the Saints’ stadium moments after they crossed the finish line together at 51 minutes and nine seconds.

Saints’ fan Neil from Widnes, took advantage of the moment of post-10k sunshine to propose to Lutchie, from Clitheroe and she said yes.

Neil, who works in IT at St Mary and St Thomas’ primary school, said: “March 25 will be the anniversary of our first date and I think that is the date that Lutchie was anticipating me ‘popping’ the question. However, after chatting with my sister, we came up with a plan to do it at the 10k.

“This was the first time that either of us had run in the St Helens 10k. But when she ran in last week’s Accrington 10k she got injured which made her doubt that she would be able to do Sunday’s event.”

This would have made Neil’s plan fall apart, but luckily Lutchie recovered in time.

Neil, added: “I told her ‘Don’t worry, I’ll walk with you’ but she was saying ‘No, you run. I don’t want to spoil your run’.

“She didn’t realise that I needed to be alongside her as we finished the race as the plan was to feign an injury to my knee just before the line then go down on one knee and propose.

“But one of my friends told a steward at the line of the plan but he said that I couldn’t do it there as there will be too many people trying finish. So as I was approaching, my friend was shouting ‘no, keep going’ and pointing to past the finish line where friends and family were waiting and that is where it happened. Initially, as I went on to one knee, Lutchie looked around to see her friends who had surprised her by turning up and then she turned back around to me.

“I saw her eyes catch sight of the ring box and slowly the realisation of what was happening took a hold of her and she began to cry. A happy cry luckily. She was speechless but a little nod gave me the answer I was looking for.

“It was a beautiful moment that I’ll never forget.”