We met through running. Jim had never run a day in his life but, after his divorce, he felt God telling him to pursue it. He joined a local running group in 2010 and immediately dove into running 5Ks, 10Ks, then eventually marathons. I, myself, was new to it too. We began to see each other on training runs and, while neither of us was really looking for anyone, slowly got to know each other.
He intrigued me whenever I saw him at the group runs. He was a shy, quiet guy – the opposite of me. We realized we attended the same church, and a strong friendship formed. In March of 2012 we went on our first date, and I knew immediately that this man was going to be a big part of my life. We became running partners, and supported each other through individual struggles. We both found great jobs within a week of each other, and felt that God was creating a plan for us.
On September 21, 2014, we ran a half marathon together – the first big run since my surgery, back in February. He was so loving and supportive, promising to stay running with me the whole time. I never imagined that this race would change the course of my life forever.
Halfway through the race, he started going a little faster than me. I caught up and he explained that he needed to stretch – but instead got down on one knee! We were on the Michigan State University campus, near the Sparty Statue, and it was just beautiful. The words just flowed out of him, and he didn’t seem nervous at all. He told me that most people would propose at the finish line, but that we weren’t there yet – and were on a journey together to the end. He opened an engagement ring box to reveal my Ritani ring, and I was overcome with emotion.
We ran the rest of the race together, and as we passed friends I showed them the ring on my finger, yelling, “We just got engaged!” As we approached the finish line, I noticed my best friend standing there, who had driven an hour and a half to celebrate with us. I was elated!
Crossing that finish line, hand in hand, was such an amazing feeling and memory I will always hold close to my heart. Once we received our medals, the Lansing State Journal interviewed us, and took a photo of the ring on my hand. The following day we were on the front page of the newspaper, with a beautiful account of our proposal story.
I love my special Ritani ring! It is so beautiful and sparkly that I find myself looking at it constantly. You could tell Jim put a lot of thought into what he wanted my ring to look like, and took into consideration the style and diamond shape I would want. He did lots of research into how to buy the right kind of ring. I’m so proud of him, and I’m so happy that I will be marrying my best friend, running partner, and the man that God chose for me, next August. I can’t wait!
By Tina Coyer, as told to Kirsty Wareing
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