Most couples celebrate their first wedding anniversary with a romantic dinner or a trip away, with champagne, flowers and jewellery thrown in for good measure.
But not for Derry couple Seamus and Fiona Cradden who will mark their first year of marriage by running tomorrow’s gruelling 26.2 mile Walled City Marathon.
They will be among the 1,500 plus runners who will leave the Everglades Hotel and 8.30am to cover a course that will see them criss-cross the River Foyle before crossing the finishing line in Guildhall Square.
Housing officer Seamus (32) and Fiona (28), a nurse in Altnagelvin Hospital, met “a long time ago through a mutual friend” and tied the knot on 1 June last year.
Seamus, a well-known traditional musician in Derry, took up running while living in Sydney, Australia, a few years ago.
Fiona followed in his footsteps about a year and a half ago.
Seamus is attached to Foyle Valley Athletic Club while Fiona is a member of Reach Running Club and tomorrow’s event will be their first marathons.
To date, Seamus has completed a number of half marathons including Omagh (3), Waterside (2) and the Inishowen.
Also this year he completed the Ballyliffin 10 mile and the Waterside City Marathon 10K as well as various 5Ks.
As well as tomorrow’s marathon, he intends to take part in a number of races this summer, including the Limavady Jude Gallagher Memorial 10 mile and the Downings half marathon.
He has also set his sights on competing in the Mulroy Bay Adventure Race in October
Fiona completed last year’s Waterside Half Marathon as well as this year’s Omagh and Strabane 13.1 mile runs as part of her marathon training schedule.
Seamus said they were not disappointed missing out on last year’s event due to their wedding which was attended by a number of guests competing in the marathon the following day.
He said: “When we booked our wedding, the date for the marathon wasn’t actually confirmed.
“The wedding was a great day, but we felt sorry for all the people who were sticking to the water that night.”
Seamus revealed they both decided to register for tomorrow’s event after their performances in last September Waterside Half Marathon.
He also revealed they have followed different training routines.
“We have been training on different schedules, but we have had the odd run together, including one through Central Park in New York,” he said.
Fiona has found the run-up to the marathon “challenging, tough but fulfilling” but has found running with Reach “helped a lot.”
As for Seamus, his training got off to the worst possible start.
He revealed: “It started very badly due to a torn ligament at the start of the year, so I was well behind when I started into the schedule, but the people at Foyle Valley – as well as the help of a great physio – helped me a lot and I ended up really enjoying the training.”
Seamus said they both hoped to complete tomorrow’s 26.2 miles but the most important thing was to “enjoy it and take in the atmosphere without any hitches” and get up Fahan Street “unscathed.”
Seamus and Fiona will not be running together tomorrow as each have different targets.
Seamus explained: “We are both running at different times and with different groups, plus I think Fiona will be happy to get rid of me for a few hours!”