Belfast Telegraph

Love is sometimes a marathon, not a sprint

The marriage of Noel Smith and Aislin Mackin

Running a leg of the Belfast Marathon eight years ago was one of the best decisions Aislin Mackin ever made.

After completing the race for her local camogie club, the 28-year-old bumped into her husband-to-be, Noel Smith, on the finish line.

Although she has not run since, Aislin said the six-mile relay was well worth it.

"Noel and I went to school together, but we didn't like each other back then," said Aislin, a photographer from Kilcoo in Co Down. "It was only when we were out celebrating after the marathon that we were introduced properly."

Noel (29), a barman in a hotel in Newcastle, Co Down, started dating Aislin nearly a year after the two first met.

"We saw each other every week, but we didn't really ever have a special first date," she said.

"It got to the point where we were sitting in a bar and the barman asked us what the deal was.

"I turned round and said 'well, we're going out'. And that was that."

During a romantic New Year's Eve trip to Glasgow in 2007 Noel proposed to Aislin after a meal.

"I came back to the table and he gave me the bill and told me I could pay for dinner," she joked.

"The ring was sitting on top of the slip of paper. I was so excited I don't even think, I said yes - I put the ring on and ran outside to call all my family."

The happy couple got married in St Malachy's Church in Kilcoo on March 19, the same day as their first date.

He gave me the bill and said I could pay for dinner. The ring was sitting on top of it

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