This is, hands down, the best thing we’ve ever seen happen at a marathon. Period. At the 32 km mark of the BMO Vancouver Marathon, a couple took a brief pit stop to get married. Yeah that’s right, and on the beach no less!
Anthony Johnson and James Makokis completed the first three quarters of the run, then stopped at English Bay Beach for an intimate and rose-scattered ceremony with friends and family before completing the last 10 km arm in arm. They wed in matching tux t-shirts, suit jackets and red runner’s leggings. We’re pretty impressed that both men were looking so dapper after running 32 km. We certainly wouldn’t have been.
The couple have been engaged for almost a year but were finding it difficult to get both their families together for a wedding because Johnson is from the United States. A little while after signing up for the marathon, Makokis suggested that they do something fun for their ceremony and have smaller celebrations for the family who couldn’t make it. That “something fun” turned into getting married during the marathon.
Makokis, for whom this was his 15th marathon, said it would be the perfect time because “this is the city where we fell in love.”
For Johnson and Makokis, who are from the Navajo and Saddle Lake Cree Nations respectively, the experience of running together is more than just about exercise, it’s a way of connecting to each other and a key part of their culture. It is a tradition in many Indigenous nations to run immediately after waking up in the morning (though Johnson says he’s not a morning person and runs later in the day).
“Running is important to us because it’s a part of our heritage,” Johnson told BMO, “I think running a marathon and doing it with your partner is really significant and spiritual.” Makokis added that there was special significance for him too because he has trained people from his reserve and then brought them to the Vancouver Marathon to see the mountains and run.
Well this is just about the sweetest sports-related thing we’ve seen since all those proposals at the Olympics last year. Ah, the athletic power of love!