A TRIUMPHANT couple who wed after making history as the first couple to win the Great Edinburgh Run last year will return to Edinburgh to defend their title.
Dan Wallis, 29, from New Zealand, crossed the finish line ahead of the competition shortly followed by his girlfriend, Hillory Davis, 28, from Australia.
And they will return to race again together in April, now as husband and wife.
They tied the knot in Colorado a month after deciding to get married while in Edinburgh.
“Edinburgh is a special place for me,” Dan said. “It was while we were on that trip last year that we decided to get married.
“We were never officially engaged and actually got married about a month later. We didn’t want a wedding, we just wanted to officially be a family, so we signed the licence and went out to dinner with friends.
“We took some photos together on the night and on my blazer is a Hibernian pin.”
The Capital was also the backdrop for the couple’s reunion last year after spending nearly five months apart.
“I had been training and racing in a frozen American winter while Hillory was enjoying summer with her family in Australia,” explained Dan. “It was tough, but we both have big aspirations and will always support each other, even if that means having to be apart for a while. I’d never want her to give up something she wants to do because of me, and she is exactly the same.
“I wanted her to love Edinburgh as much as I did, so I convinced her to enter the race as a way to see Scotland’s capital city like no other.”
Dan persuaded Hillory to travel to Edinburgh and tour the city sights on the ten-mile circuit where runners pass spots such as the Castle, Greyfriars Bobby and Arthur’s Seat.
And 15 minutes after Dan crossed the finish line in first place, he heard race announcer and radio presenter Bryan Burnett report the first woman was on her way down the home stretch – and it was Hillory.
“Given Hillory entered the race at the last minute as a sightseeing expedition, I was as surprised as I think she was,” said Dan. “In the sport of running you can often surprise yourself, which we both did at the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Run last year.
The couple, who met at university in Colorado in 2007, are looking forward to competing again.
Dan said: “We both absolutely love Edinburgh, it has to be one of the most spectacular cities on the planet and we can’t wait to be back.
“I’ll be giving it everything to win again, although I’m currently training in the Netherlands which will make the hills in Edinburgh even tougher than they are. Hillory is super competitive and will be fit, so even though she will be more focused on shorter distances, she will be tough to beat.”
To enter the event visit www.greatrun.org/Edinburgh.