IT WAS supposed to be the happiest day of her life. But for Marianne Rutz, a cloud hung over her wedding day.

Marianne was diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer just three days before she married her partner Kevin.

That was September 2015, and almost 18 months from that point, the two are happily married with Marianne continuing her recovery from a gruelling spell of cancer treatment.

Her recovery is going so well, in fact, that she has signed up for her first marathon to say thank you to the hospital that looked after her throughout the treatment.

Marianne has signed up for the inaugural Stirling Scottish Marathon on Sunday, May 21, raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support and Maggies Centre at the Forth Valley Royal Hospital that provided her treatment.

Marianne, who was born in Switzerland and has lived in the UK for eight years, revealed the inner turmoil in the immediate days following the cancer diagnosis, but did not let the bad news spoil her special day.

“We didn’t know what was going to happen,” she said. “We didn’t do anything. We got married, then it started to dawn on me. My husband signed up for better, for worse, in sickness and in health.

“It was so hard. My family in Switzerland wanted me to go back there for treatment but I love this country. My husband was here.

“We didn’t know which way it was going to go. I’m here, I’m doing well, and I have an opportunity to give something back. The sport and exercise has kept me focused.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity. It’s a wonderful route. It will be unforgettable.”

The 52-year-old, an operations director for Capita, has used her marathon training as a focus away from the cancer treatment, and is reaping the rewards of such a regime now.

She said: “I honestly believe that I recovered better from the chemotherapy because of my fitness. I kept up my regime after the surgery, going to the gym three or four times a week. I kept it going.

“After the cancer, I thought if I can do this, I can do anything.

“This will come to an end. I finished the chemotherapy in July and the marathon was advertised around the same time. I just thought how good would it be to run it. It’s in my home town, it goes through where I live.

“My oncologist had no reason to believe I couldn’t do it.”

Marianne has had a few setbacks in her preparations, but she maintains she will be on the start line on May 21 for the 26.2-mile event.

“I'm doing better now than I was in December, where infections and fatigue prevented me from training,” she explained.

“I will be there, I will run it. I will run to raise funds for Maggies. That for me is why I’m doing it.”

The Stirling Scottish Marathon takes place on Sunday, May 21, starting from Blair Drummond Safari Park and finishing under the iconic Stirling Castle. General entries have closed but there is an exclusive window open for runners wishing to raise money for charity – for more information, visit greatrun.org/Stirling

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