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In it for the long run... couple take on 5k and swim same day they are getting wed

By Ivan Little

A Portrush couple who are getting married today are breaking with the tradition of staying apart on the morning of their wedding by preparing for their big day with a 5k run together before their nuptials.

And after John Doherty and Faye McLernon take part in the weekly park run in their hometown, they'll also have a bracing swim in the Atlantic.

Several hours later Faye and John will exchange their vows overlooking the beaches where they go running and swimming every weekend.

"Yes, it's all happening in the same area," said 43-year-old Faye.

"That's the way we planned it because the park run is so important to us. We're hoping this weekend will be one of the best of our lives."

Faye will have to show a clean pair of heels after the park run, which is one of the only ones here held on a beach, the East Strand of the aptly-named Portrush.

She added: "I'll have my swimwear on underneath my running gear and once I've had my dip I'll have a quick shower in the water sports centre nearby and dash off to get my hair done and then my make-up.

"I'll race home to get into my wedding dress and then meet friends in a local bar before going to the Arcadia for the wedding and our reception.

"It's the perfect venue as it has fantastic views over the beaches and the ocean. It's a magical place for us.

"We run on the East Strand on a Saturday and swim in the sea on Sundays with the Arcadia bathing club."

Faye, who works with adults with learning disabilities, isn't unduly concerned about her 44-year-old husband-to-be seeing her before the wedding.

"We'd rather risk a wee bit of bad of luck so that we can both participate in the park run. Neither of us wants to miss out on the fun," she said.

"John is a lot faster than me, but he says he'll run with me, even though it'll mean he'll have to slow down quite a bit. That's true love."

John, who works in IT, was a reluctant runner until Faye persuaded him to don his trainers.

The couple will be spending a 'familymoon' with their children Alec (8), Lemmie (6) and Cora (3) in south west France.

Faye and John have been together for 15 years. The 5k enthusiasts are, they say, in it for the long run.

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