Before Valentine’s Day 2010, I wrote a blog titled “Love and Running.” As a follow-up, this year I share the story of a wedding proposal that took place on Sunday, February 7, 2011 at the finish line of the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco 5K.
This is a story about Phillip Cuevas, 35, and Lily David, 29. Phillip works at Kasier Santa Clara as a rad technologist in the Radiology Department. Lily works at Kaiser Hayward in the Labor and Delivery Department. They have been dating for nine years and four months. During that time, Philip reports that they enjoy participating in events together, “because they want to Thrive!”
Three weeks before the race Phillip decided it was time to propose and he came up with a unique idea to surprise Lily. Phillip signed up for the half marathon and Lily signed up for the 5K. They went to the start of the race together and when the gun was fired, started running.
Phillip sprinted ahead and veered onto the 5K route. At the finish line area, awaiting their arrival were Lily’s sisters, Janet and May. Janet and May had delivered some key items to Phillip at the finish line: a diamond ring, two dozen red roses, and a big banner saying, “WILL YOU MARRY ME? LILY DAVID”
According to the chip timing, Philip arrived at the finish line 28 minutes, 4 seconds after the race started, in 201st place. He had about eighteen minutes to prepare himself for Lily’s arrival at the finish line. As other runners finished the race they noticed the banner and many decided to stay around to see who this Lily was and to see if she would say yes. A big crowd began to gather at the finish line to watch. “As the crowd continued to get larger, I was getting a little nervous and excited waiting in front of the banner with two dozen red roses in my left arm and the small box containing the ring in my right hand,” said Phillip.
When the clock reached 46 minutes, 49 seconds, Lily arrived at the finish line to a cheering crowd. “As I was heading towards the finish line, I saw a huge crowd,” recalls Lily. Many of the spectators were taking pictures and video with their cell phones to capture the special moment of two complete strangers. From the picture at the right, you can see she then looked over to the side and saw Phillip and the banner. “I was in shock,” said Lily. “Then I knew he was going to propose to me. I got emotional and I started crying. I walked towards Phillip gave him a hug.”
At first Phillip just let the banner speak for itself. “She came up to me and I introduced Lily and myself to the crowd and told them we both work for Kaiser,” said Phillip. “I knew she was winded from running so I told her not to say anything and only listen to what I had to say. I expressed my feelings to her, gently grabbed her left hand and went down on one knee and offered the ring and said, ‘Will you marry me?’”
She said, “Yes!”
With Valentine’s Day 2010 just a few days away, what better time to write about love and running.
After all, the story of meeting the love of my life centers around running. It was the spring of 2000 that Malinda wandered over to the join my group for a Thursday night track workout. She was in training for the New York City Marathon and Tyler Abbott suggested she do speed work with my group. She was only a semi-regular attendee for the rest of the year but sometime around the Christmas Classic and the DSE Christmas Blind Date Relays race, I started seeing her more and we began to talk. Next thing I know, I am driving out to run on the Dipsea trail, running the DSE Hangover Run, and going to Stockton for the Cal-10 ten mile race, all so I can spend more time with her. You could say our romance is one that started with running. Since we incorporated a running event (the Tying the Knot 7K run and 1400 meter walk, on 7/14/07) as part of our wedding celebration, we even got a mention in a Runner’s World article entitled, “Love and Running.”
We aren’t the only romance that blossomed thanks to Thursday night track. Nathan Wong and Leah Evans began attending track workouts in 2004 (Nathan in June, Leah in December). Nathan wanted to get faster and meet other runners. Leah, after some reluctance was finally convinced by Tomas to try the track workouts. By January 2006, Nathan the musician, and Leah the teacher, soon became Nathan and Leah, the couple. Three years later they got engaged (on a run, the Thursday before the 2009 Boston Marathon). They now live in Boston and are attending law (Nathan) and medical (Leah) school.
A former SHCP assistant coach, Mary Fagan, and her husband Mark Churchill had an even crazier wedding race than I did. The two hardcore runners actually met at a snowshoe race. Their four mile race (called “Mark and Mary’s Race to Tie the Knot”) took place the morning before their actual wedding and it was a competition. Every runner was either on Mary’s team (yellow shirts) or Mark’s team (blue shirts). Team scoring was a rather complicated system based on finish place in your age group, with bonus points for participating and travel distance to the wedding race. At stake? Last names. If Mark’s team won, Mary would change her name to Mary Churchill. If Mary’s team won, Mark would change his name to Mark Fagan. Later that same day, after the successful race, the minister closed the wedding ceremony by announcing that Team Churchill had defeated Team Fagan by ten points as he presented the newly married couple, Mr. and Mrs. Mark and Mary Churchill.
Love and running certainly go together. You can run with your significant other. You can meet your significant other at a running-related event, and you can celebrate your romance with more running!
I wonder who will be the next running romance?