Prince Harry, 36, gave a group of LA runners the surprise of their life when he pitched up unannounced to speak to them on Sunday. The Duke of Sussex wished them luck as they prepared to take part in the virtual Virgin Money London Marathon 2020. The pandemic prevented the event going ahead in its usual format and runners across the world were encouraged to run a 26.2-mile route of their choice over 24 hours.
3ptriteam posted a photo of themselves with Harry on Instagram with the caption: “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.”
One of the runners Harry met was cancer-survivor Chudney Espiritu who wrote about the encounter on Instagram: “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 , 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.
She added: “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.
“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”
Another of the runners was Eric Schneider, who has run six marathons with three titanium screws in his spinal chord.
During his chat with the runners Prince Harry is heard asking them questions about how they prepared for the race.
Harry says: “Maybe what four and a half, five hours? Longer shorter?”
Mark says: “I mean I think about five.”
Harry said: “And it’s going tp be in the heat.”
Later in the clip the Duke says: “So everyone is taking part and calling it a marathon, a virtual marathon, but no one’s actually counting it as an actual marathon?”
Eric replies: “Yeah, this would have been my 6th world marathon.”
Harry said: “I know you do all the training, I don’t even know how many half marathons – do you do a marathon before actually running the marathon?”
Mark says: “I did not reach marathon distance – I’ve done a couple of long runs leading to this.”