Boston bombing couple to marry

James Smith and his fiance, Sheela, who were in Boston during the bombings and have since got engaged.
James Smith and his fiance, Sheela, who were in Boston during the bombings and have since got engaged.

A Doncaster marathon runner has proposed to his partner just days after they were both caught up in the Boston bombing tragedy.

James Smith popped the question to his girlfriend of 10 months, Sheela Das.

Only days ago, the couple narrowly avoided tragedy as James was one of about 350 Britons who took part in the Boston Marathon, where three people died and more than 200 were injured in two horrific blasts near the finishing line.

James, who lives in Cantley, completed the race in 3 hours and 17 minutes, about 40 minutes before the first bomb went off.

“It was not until we were going back to our apartment that we heard all the emergency service sirens and then saw the vehicles passing,” said James, a database administrator.

“At the apartment we turned on the TV and realised what had happened.”

James, aged 39, and Sheela, 38, were in Boston with some friends and they got a text message to say their friends were safe shortly before the authorities disabled mobile phone receptions.

James, who is a member of the Kimberworth Striders running club and Doncaster Athletics Club, said: “We were all in complete shock as to what was happening.

“It was a marathon - just ordinary people out there trying to do something they have dreamed of, and to be supported by family and friends.

“Finding out about the extent of deaths and injuries was unbelievable and so sad.”

After Boston the couple, who met online, travelled to San Francisco.

“I proposed to Sheela at the Charles Shultz Museum, as Sheela is a huge fan of Snoopy!” said James.

“Sheela was sitting on a bench next to a model of Snoopy and that is where I asked her to marry me.

“I am so pleased she said yes.”

Next the pair, who are still enjoying their adventures abroad, are travelling to Yosemite and then Monterey to take part in more running events, before they return to Doncaster.

Police in America are still probing the bombing.