A proud runner is on cloud nine today after holding hands with his idol in the London Marathon.
Rob Danson, who lives in Myrtle Drive, Kirkham, and is a member of the Wesham Road Runners, put out his hand to record-breaker Paula Radcliffe 100m before the finish line.
“I heard on the intercom that she was just ahead of me,” he said.
“Everyone was cheering and I thought, ‘You’ve got to catch up with her’.
“I had eight miles to go and I was already lagging, but I knew it would be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to run with my hero, and the adrenaline was unbelievable.
“Then all the cameras were on me and I thought, ‘You can’t trail off now’.
“If you’re in with a chance to say thank you to the person who has inspired you and put so much into the sport, you’ve got to go for it.”
The 25-year-old, who has been with the running club for three-and-a-half years, added: “With it being the 35th anniversary of the London Marathon, and because the first one was won jointly by two men who held hands to cross the finish line, people have been on Twitter all week saying who they’d like to hold hands with in the race, adding #handinhand.
“How much more special can you get than holding hands with Paula Radcliffe for her final marathon?
“I don’t think anything will ever top this.”
Rob, who described the day as ‘perfect’, held hands with Radcliffe right until they reached the finish line, and she gave him a hug afterwards.
The pair completed the race in two hours and 36 minutes.
An emotional Radcliffe shouted ‘thank you’ to the crowds and embraced her husband and children at the finish.
“It was so loud, my ears were ringing,” she told the BBC. “It was just amazing the whole way round.
“All the way along, there were so many people giving me encouragement.
“There was a big sign at Embankment saying ‘we will miss you’, but it won’t be as much as I will miss you.”
Former Olympian Helen Clitheroe, from Preston, tweeted: “Great to see Rob Danson and the Wesham vest running with Paula Radcliffe at London marathon.”