A Finish Line Proposal

Story submitted by Lauren Kinker.

Marriage is a marathon, not a sprint. A sprint may get you to the finish line faster, but a marathon has incredible rewards. Every little girl dreams of marrying her Prince Charming. I had no idea that I would meet mine on a Tuesday night run with the Bob Roncker’s Running Spot Training Group. I was training for my second marathon and Aaron was training for his first. We often joke that I run for the bling (the finishers’ medals) and Aaron runs for the “free” T-shirts. Fast forward two years, six marathons, a work relocation to Philadelphia for me and a new job for Aaron, and voila, an engagement. 

The proposal was perfect! We traveled to Cincinnati from Philadelphia for the Thanksgiving holiday. Like 17,000 other Cincinnatians we got up
on Thursday morning to run the 106th annual Thanksgiving Day Race. We were so excited to be running in Cincinnati again; the place where it all began. As I crossed the start line running next to Aaron I had no idea what was waiting for me at the finish. We ran through the streets of Cincinnati reminiscing about the time we spent together there. But throughout the entire race I noticed that Aaron kept fidgeting with a pocket on his sleeve.

It was an easy 6.2 mile run so I couldn’t imagine why he would be so tense. I really should have become a little suspicious when we stopped on the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge for a selfie, because Aaron is not a fan of posed pictures and, after all, we were in the middle of a 10K race. Little did I know he used this moment to catch his breath! We crossed the finish line together and he asked me to run over to the side out of the way of the runners behind us. I was confused, thinking he might be a bit fatigued, and challenged his decision because I like the goodies that are offered to the runners at the finish line. As I moved off to the side I did not even notice that my family was right in front me. It took me a second or two to notice that I had my own cheer section. Aaron was still fiddling with his jacket sleeve pocket when he took my hand in his. "Wait a minute," I asked myself. “What is happening?” Aaron began to say, “I know that there are not any finishers’ medals, “bling”, at the end of this race, but I hope this “bling” will do. I love you,” he said as he got down on one knee and asked, “Will you marry me?” He then placed the most beautiful ring I had ever seen on my finger.

The finish line was the perfect place for Aaron to ask to marry me. Our relationship began as we ran the streets of Cincinnati together as part of the same training group. That Thanksgiving morning at the finish line we ended that race and began training for the marathon of all marathons, life together forever as husband and wife.