Will You Huff, Puff, Marry Me?
Jeremy Olshan’96, a New York Post reporter, proposed to Asia M. Friedman ’97 at the end of the 2004 New York City marathon in November. This is his first-person account of how he went the extra mile:
The medics thought I was having a heart attack—and I was, in a way.
They had rushed over to me when I fell to my knees at the finish line, but my condition was incurable. I was proposing to my girlfriend, Asia.
From those first lingering, tingling kisses on that Brooklyn stoop, I had no doubt this was going to be a long-distance relationship.
But neither of us could have imagined then that we’d be in it for the marathon
We started the training slowly. First, we moved in together. Okay, so not too slowly.
Soon we were running loops around Prospect Park, embracing our first runner’s highs, that strange euphoria that sounds like the stuff of fairy tales until you experience it for yourself. Gatorade started to taste like champagne, and everything else seemed unimportant.
We ran hundreds of miles together, side by side every step of the way. From the Brooklyn to the Golden Gate, there was a lot of water under the bridges we jogged across. On an 18-mile training run, we were heading up the West Side when the stormy remnants of a hurricane descended on us and the city. The wind pushed straight through us, and the cold downpour saturated our moisture-wicking shirts and then our skin.
It was miserable. If either of us had been alone, we probably would have quit. But somehow, we made it, and even found a cab willing to take us back to Brooklyn.
I knew at that moment that Asia and I could get through anything together, and I decided then that I was going to ask her to marry me at the marathon.
What’s a mere stroll down the aisle, after this 26.2 milestone?
Initially, I planned to pop the question at the starting line. The marathon was a perfect metaphor for the enterprise: It was long, hard, full of aches and pains, ups and downs, but in the end it was worth it. What better way to start our journey together.
Then I found out that the start in Staten Island is often described as the “world’s largest urinal.”
So I decided on the finish line. The risk of course is that we would be so nauseated that either before the question was asked or answered, one of us would be keeled over vomiting. Not so romantic.
But I decided to go for it. In sickness and in health, right?
So there we were, rounding the stretch yesterday at Columbus Circle and back into Central Park. I let her run a little ahead of me, so she didn’t see me fumble through my pocket fishing out the ring, which was classily wrapped in a paper towel.
Just as we stepped onto the finish line hand-in-hand, I pulled her to a stop
And then the medics rushed over. But I was feeling no pain at all. She said yes.