After running 26.2 miles, this runner got down on one knee.
For Gregory Picklesimer, the thrill of finishing another Boston Marathon wasn’t quite enough.
Shortly after the 47-year-old resident of Newton, Mass., crossed the finish line in 2:42:32—which was good enough for 414th place and 13th in the 45-49 age group, he found his girlfriend, Carla White, near the medical tent and got down on one knee and then fished through the back pocket of his running shorts. Inside a little plastic baggie was a diamond ring. He pulled it out and turned around and proposed to her.
White said “yes” as those nearby burst into applause.
“It was a total surprise,” she said. “It’s the happiest day of my life.”
Including this year’s effort, Picklesimer has run the Boston Marathon eight times since 2004. In six of those races, he’s run 2:45 or faster, including his Boston PR of 2:39:40 from 2011.
“I had the ring in my pocket the entire way,” he said. “I wasn’t worried that I’d drop the ring, I was worried I wouldn’t find her. And then I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get back up after getting on one knee.”
The couple has been together for five years, but what happened last year had an impact on each of them.
“After last year, I realized that your life can change in an instant,” Picklesimer said. ”The people you live and the things that you love can be taken from you. I just thought this I wanted to make sure that we could be together for the rest of our lives.”