A BRIGHTON Marathon runner called the 26 mile race “the easy part” yesterday after nervously proposing to his girlfriend when they reached the finishing line of yesterday’s record-breaking event.

PE teacher Hannah Jennings said yes to personal trainer Ben Klinkenbergh when he got down on one knee during a post-race proposal broadcast on the big screens at the event.

Hannah, 26, said: “I’ve had an amazing day, the best day of my life. I couldn’t think of anything more perfect for us than having a sport-related engagement.”

Ben, 33, explained that he had entrusted his mother with the engagement ring and picked it up from her at the 25-mile mark.

He said: “It was the most nerve wracking thing I’ve ever done. The race was the easy part. For the last three miles, all I could think about was the whole proposal, it was terrifying.

“We’re both quite sporty people and I wanted to do something sport related and make it as memorable as possible - something she’d never forget - and I think I’ve succeeded.”

When asked why he had popped the question, Ben said of his new fiancee: “She encourages me to follow my dreams and pushes me hard to be the best I can I be. I don’t know what I’d be without her.”

The couple, who live in Haywards Heath, have been together for three years. They ran the marathon this year and in 2015 to raise money for the charity Friends Off Embark, which was set up by Hannah’s father to help her autistic brother and those with similar conditions live independent lives.

Their story was a moving highlight on the best-attended Brighton Marathon ever.

The event smashed it’s long-desired goal of ten thousand participants, with 10,947 starting the race when Zoe Ball fired the starter’s pistol in Preston Park at 9.15am.

Event director Tom Naylor said it had been an “incredible day,” after threatened rain failed to materialise and the event took place under crisp clear skies at a temperature of 10 degrees.

Mr Naylor added: “The thing I’ve appreciated the most was just the colour, the race has just looked great.

“The atmosphere on the course has made it lovely, from all the reports we’ve been getting we’ve had an epic day.”

Fundraisers in outrageous costumes were spotted among the lycra clad runners, with Peppa Pig, Elvis Presley, a rhino and a postbox all taking part in the race.

The event finished at 4.30pm, drawing to a close to a weekend of mass-participation sport in the city which included the The Cancer Research UK Kids and Teens Mini Mile races in Preston Park on Saturday morning, and a 10km race along part of the marathon route, before the main race yesterday.

Do not miss The Argus on Wednesday for the Mini Mile picture special in Youth in Action and the full list of runners with their times in a commemorative supplement on Thursday.