“I would’ve stiff-armed his ass and kept going”

I don’t know about y’all, but I giddily watched last weekend’s TCS New York City Marathon and proudly cheered on our American women to several top finishes. I got goosebumps watching Shalane Flanagan make her move into third place and nearly teared up when she mouthed, “I love you,” to the crowd near the finish line (I love you too, Shalane!).

While the American women were one of the most talked-about parts of the event, there was one other moment that received quite a bit of attention. Those of you who follow a running-focused page on social media likely saw the guy who proposed to his girlfriend, a participating runner, around mile 16.

The reactions I saw on social surprised me – it was a mix of congratulatory and snide remarks. I, of course, had my own reaction to the news, which I planned on keeping to myself. But after my friend, @kyods tweeted me that she was dying to know what I thought of it, I decided it was a great reason to blog about it.

Me, finishing a marathon, not being proposed to

Most of us who are wellness enthusiasts, especially runners, have seen one too many finish line marriage proposals. To each their own but I’m personally not a fan of a proposal at the finish line of a race. That’s not to say I’m not happy for people when it happens; my friend Emily received a finish line proposal and I was thrilled for her. But it wouldn’t be for me and here’s why.

Finishing a marathon is a huge deal. I worked so hard for that moment. Please don’t steal it with your marriage proposal.
Finishing a marathon is exhausting, physically and mentally. I’m drained. Please don’t add to the overwhelming emotion by throwing the biggest decision of my life at me.
Finishing a marathon is hard work. To be blunt, I’m sweaty, salty, and I smell awful. Please don’t put me in a position where I’m going to feel even a tiny bit bad about myself if I don’t want to hug you.
Finishing a marathon is depleting. A proposal adds that much more time between me and the water and food tables. Please don’t keep me from the hydration and nourishment I need (ahem, #hangry).
Finishing a marathon earns me a medal. That’s the bling I want to take home that day. Please don’t give me more.

Now, the marriage proposal at last weekend’s NYC marathon wasn’t at the finish line. So, one might wonder, “Lindsay, are you okay with this one?”

No. No, I am not. And again, this is based on me putting myself in those running shoes, here’s why I wouldn’t want that.

Me, running a marathon, not being proposed to

Mile 16 of a marathon is a point where I still feel good and strong, and the tough miles haven’t yet started to get me. Don’t stop me and put me at risk to stiffen up or break my stride.
Mile 16 of a marathon is a great time to give me a wave and a high-five, and encourage me to keep going. Don’t stop me and kill my momentum.
Mile 16 of a marathon is where I’m dialed in and focused. Don’t stop me, break that focus, and leave me with the emotional rollercoaster and million thoughts that follow a proposal – for another 10 miles (what kind of food for the reception, I need to call my best friends, what kind of food for the reception, we need to choose a date, what kind of food for the reception – damn now I just want food).
And most of all, I’m a goal-oriented person and a Type-A planner. When it comes to racing, I have a goal and I have a plan to achieve it. If you stop me, at any point during a marathon, you’re messing with that. Don’t mess with that. DO NOT get in the way of me achieving my goal.

I’m all for support during a marathon. Chris has been there for me, both at the finish line and during a marathon. He has cheered me on, threw a gel my way, taken pics, held my water bottle, and picked up clothes as I shed layers a few miles into the race. He has been my pit crew – he has added to the quality of my race experience, not taken away from it.

My final thought in all this then went to how would I have reacted if Chris had proposed to me in the middle of a marathon. I had a hard time coming up with an honest answer to that, so I’ll leave it to the wise words of my friend, Kelsey, who said, “I would’ve stiff-armed his ass and kept going.” Well said, friend. Well said. And now the quote I kicked off this blog with makes sense.

What do you think about a mile-16 marriage proposal? How about race-day finish line proposals? Comment or tweet me @LindsayIRL.


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