Cleveland.com reports that Stephanie Lesco and Dan Horvath both made a very big finish at yesterday’s Cleveland marathon, but it wasn’t because either of them won the race — in fact, one of them wasn’t even running. Something much more life-altering happened for them at the marathon’s finish line: Dan asked Leslie to marry him and she said yes in a video that was captured and later posted on the Cleveland Marathon’s Facebook page.
“I had no idea this was coming,” said an elated Lesco after the race. “This tops anything I could’ve set in the marathon. This is my best marathon ever.”
Horvath waited for Lesco at the marathon’s conclusion in the downpour Cleveland experienced yesterday. He blended right in by wearing a black tracksuit and backwards cap, but he held in his hand something which it is safe to assume none of the marathon participants or viewers had on them: a little black box with a wedding ring in it.
Once Leslie, dressed in a purple track suit and with a bracelet of red and white flowers around her wrist, crossed the marathon’s finish line, Dan immediately dropped to one knee, held out the open box, and began his proposal. In the video of the heart-melting moment, Lesco holds her hands to her mouth and looks as happy as can be expected when being proposed to.
After several seconds, Horvath stands and the happy couple wrap each other in a tight embrace in the pouring rain.
“Well, we finally got a proposal at a rainy day at the marathon,” blares the finish line commentator over the PA. “She said yes!”
“The rain does not stop marriage proposals, it does not stop love,” he continues.
“They are going to remember this day forever.”
Horvath told the press he had been planning this stunning marriage proposal method for over a year in anticipation of the marathon. He says it was fitting because the marathon had been a significant theme in his and Leslie’s relationship since the two had met at the 2014 Cleveland marathon.
“During the race, I kept thinking to myself how I had to find a way to get her number. I was able to do that after the race,” reflects Horvath.
The romance between the couple bloomed over the next few years; they were part of a group of friends who trained for the marathon together.
Both Stephanie and Dan live in Amherst OH, a town about 25 miles west of Cleveland, and their annual weekend trip into the city always held a special significance for them as a sort of anniversary.
“The Cleveland Marathon weekend is a holiday for us,” Horvath said. “Every year we get a hotel, we take Monday or Tuesday off. It’s a ‘run-cation.’ As long as we’re able, this is a race we’ll run forever.”
That last statement now has an added meaning, as the two have just entered a very different kind of race with each other, one that will hopefully stretch on for more than a few years.
Even physiologically speaking, the proposal came at a perfect time to achieve maximum impact. Lesco’s endorphin were no doubt pumping already from the marathon, and Forbes notes that the memory is sharpened when endorphin are being released. Any good marriage proposal will be cherished forever, but Stephanie Lesco will remember even more of the minute details leading up to the proposal than most people will.
Lesco did not beat her own record time for the Cleveland marathon with her 4:03:14 time in the 26-mile event. Still, Stephanie — #416 in the race — definitely came out on top on May 21, 2017.
[Featured Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]