The Countess of Wessex joined the Mencap Learning Disability Running Team at Windsor Castle to run the first 1.5 miles of the London Virtual Marathon this weekend – and she wasn't the only royal who supported the event!
Mark and Chudney Espiritu, who were taking part in the event in Los Angeles, have shared the huge surprise they got from Prince Harry! The couple took to Instagram to write about their experience, in which the organizers reached out to them, asking if they had an "inspiring story to tell behind our love of running."
Mark shared Chudney's story of using running as a form of self-care after being diagnosed with cancer. It turned out the story really hit home with organizers, who sent another email letting them know a London Marathon ambassador wanted to meet with them in person.
"We found out that the ambassador was the Duke of Sussex! Prince Harry," Chudney excitedly wrote.
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Congrats to our very own and husband and wife teammates Mark and Chudney Espiritu being interview by Prince Harry himself the ambassador of London Marathon ❤️❤️❤️ #princeharry @londonmarathon #londonmarathon #londonmarathon2020 Chudney wrote: “So this happened... ... We were supposed to run the 40th London Marathon last April, then COVID happened. The marathon was moved to October 4, but COVID is still happening 臘♀️, so the actual race was changed to a virtual one. Runners have the option to run this year’s virtual marathon & still keep a spot in 2021, 2022 or 2023 (pretty awesome work by the organizers). Among all the 6 world marathon majors, London Marathon is the toughest to get into. They decided to still keep 2020 as the 40th year. So,the virtual marathon tomorrow has its own app, tracking, cut-off times & they would send medals when you actually finish the race. London Marathon reached out to us since they are looking for LA runners. They asked if we have an inspiring story to tell behind our love of running.Mark emailed them back- “My wife has an inspiring story to tell.” So, they asked me to write an essay & tell them about my story. I did. I told them about my cancer journey, my sudden urge to take care of myself, how Running just changed my life for the better. I also mentioned that I decided to still run the virtual marathon because it is their 40th & it is my 40th too! ☺️ I also wrote that I’m dedicating this run for my mom, who is battling such a brutal disease. I got an email & we were told that the London Marathon ambassador will meet with us. That day was today & we found out that the ambassador was the Duke of Sussex! Prince Harry!!! He is so laid-back and very down to earth. He actually asked if it is okay for us to sit on the floor. The interview was more of like a chat with a friend. ♥️ What an experience this was. I never imagined myself chatting with Prince Harry. This is one for the books. I will never forget this day. 老 Official photos and video will be emailed to us. This was from Mark’s phone. Prince Harry happily agreed to take pics with our phones and yes there were masks, hand sanitizers & social distncing” ❤️❤️❤
The couple met up with Harry, who interviewed them about their story.
"He is so laid-back and very down to earth," Chudney continued in the post. "He actually asked if it is okay for us to sit on the floor. The interview was more like a chat with a friend. What an experience this was. I never imagined myself chatting with Prince Harry. This is one for the books. I will never forget this day."
The couple also shared a photo that had been taken from Mark's phone, and said the duke "happily agreed to take pics... and yes, there were masks, hand sanitizers and social distancing."
This isn't the first time Harry has shown his support for London Marathon runners. He's shown up to cheer runners on in 2019 and hand out awards multiple times in the U.K. capital since 2012.
He also recorded a special video message for London Marathon runners this year, which was shared on the organization's official social media accounts.
"This year, sadly, it's not possible for everybody to run together on the streets of London in the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon," he said in the clip.
"Instead, 45,000 runners from across the U.K., and 109 countries around the world, will run the 40th race in their own way, taking on the 26.2 miles, in their own communities. Thanks to all of you, the extraordinary spirit of the London Marathon will continue to shine across the globe.
"While we won't be together in person, we are together in spirit. And the amazing tenacity of runners from around the world is a reminder of our strength and sense of community during these difficult times."
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