Member Submission

The (Very) Happy Half in Ellicottville, NY

By: Keri

On May 8, 2021, I headed back to western New York, where I’m from, to run a half marathon with my childhood best friend. We ran the Happy Half at Holiday Valley Ski Resort in Ellicottville, NY. It wasn’t supposed to be anything special, but my boyfriend came along to watch, and my sister, who had never been to a road race, let alone see me race, said she’d come up from western Pennsylvania to cheer me on. It was a chilly morning, around 38 degrees, but really good running weather. As anyone who knows me may know, I really don't like the cold, so I was concerned about the chance of snow, but we got none.

No spectators were allowed at the start/finish area, so boyfriend, sister, and parents set up camp at a Dollar General parking lot at the 1.5 mile/11 mile marker. They were going to make homemade signs while they waited for my friend and me to return on the out and back. Our whole cheering section was there at the 1.5 mile mark, but only my parents were there at the 11 mile mark. I was a little annoyed they hadn’t stuck around to see me through mile 11 because the plan was for them to pick me up at the finish line after they saw me at mile 11. And, they weren’t supposed to be at the finish line and I didn’t want anyone to get in trouble.

So, I kept running and saw them at the finish line. Holding their sign made from their Dollar General purchases. It said, “Go Keri! Run Fast! I love you!” Then, the announcer changed the music to a particular song from Bruno Mars, called everyone's attention to the finish line, my boyfriend flipped the sign over, and I read the words, “Will you marry me?” He got down on one knee and proposed. The few volunteers in the area cheered as loudly as they could, my sister was sobbing while trying to take a video, and they made it as special as possible… I said yes!

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