While thousands participated in the Akron Marathon on Saturday, some runners went the extra mile to make the day even more special.
For 26.2 miles, Seville resident Justin Daubenmire ran with an engagement ring in his pocket. He said he was nervous but excited to finally propose to his girlfriend, Cleveland resident Hannah Uveges.
"I probably checked my pocket a hundred times while running to make sure it didn't fall out on the course," he said.
More than 7,000 people competed in the FirstEnergy Akron Marathon, Half Marathon, & Team Relay on Saturday. Uveges said she was overwhelmed by the energy on race day and was shocked when she was proposed to.
"The first thing I saw was my family," she said. "As I turned around, I kept seeing more friends and family, and I just thought about how great of a support system we have."
The couple ran together to accomplish their goal of running a marathon. Uveges said crossing the finish line was a relief but a celebration.
She said, while hugging family and friends, her boyfriend grabbed her hand and turned her around before asking the big question.
"He told me he could not have gotten through this race without me and he didn't want to go through life without me," she recalled. "He is my best friend."
Race day was also engagement day for one of this year's marathon winners.
At the finish line, Vincent Reddish waited nervously holding a poster that read "Marathons and marriage! That's what we do!"
"She's going to win," the Medina resident said. "Everyone thinks she's about to win the marathon and then she's going to be proposed to. I can't believe it."
Indeed, Alysia Rogers came in first for the women's division of the marathon with a time of 2:49:14. As she crossed the finish line, Reddish was waiting to propose to her, and she said "yes."
"This was my first marathon," she said. "I am blown away. He is the love of my life, he is also my coach, actually, and he helped me love running too."
Reddish, who ran the half-marathon, said he was nervous but overall excited to propose to her.
"Honestly, I was afraid she was going to beat me because she's so fast," he said. "I had to get here first. She means the world to me."
Uveges added that it gives her anxiety knowing he ran the marathon with the ring in his pocket.
Uveges and Daubenmire both said they were grateful not only to friends and family for support but to the marathon for bringing them closer and helping with the engagement.
"I've ran a bit before but, bless his heart, Justin had not even done a 5K before this," Uveges said. "At first, I suggested the half-marathon but he said he doesn't want to do half of anything. He's always pushing me to be better."
After Saturday's race, Daubenmire said he was not sure if they would run a marathon again but did not rule it out.
"Right now, we just want to celebrate together ... our engagement, the wedding, the race," he said. "We just want to sit in this moment."
The couple met online at the end of 2021. In April, they agreed to start training for the marathon, which he said is a true testament of "for better or for worse."
"Hannah is always there for me. The good times, the bad times, the hard runs. She lifts me up and makes me a better person," he said. "If you want to find out if someone is your person, train for a marathon together."
This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Akron Marathon runners get engaged at finish line