CLEVELAND, Ohio — More than 20,000 runners hit the streets for the 35th annual Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon races, and each runner had their own story.
Allison Ramsey and Nolan James, Jr.’s story is a little different. Let’s just say their story had a nice little “ring” to it.
It started out like any other marathon Sunday for 30-year-old Ali Ramsey and 25-year-old Nolan James, Jr.
“He was just so energized this morning, and I was like, ‘Just don’t talk to me, I need to wake up,’ ” Ramsey said.
It was the first time both Ramsey and James had run the Cleveland half-marathon.
“I’m not really nervous. It’s going to be a fun race for me,” said James.
Ali and Nolan met each other while getting their MBAs at the University of Akron.
“Our first date involved a run. That’s the first thing we ever did together,” James said.
On Sunday, the two ran and finished their first half-marathon together.
“He keeps me going. He’s laughing, he’s making jokes, he’s dancing and singing, so he keeps me distracted,” Ramsey added.
Little did Ramsey know, Sunday’s race wasn’t going to end like any of the other races the couple competed in.
“I had it planned, or I hoped to do it this way for two or three months,” said James.
As the couple approached the 13-mile mark together, their lives were about to change forever.
“I wanted to say something profound, and I just spoke from the heart, but I was very nervous,” James said.
And then the moment finally arrived.
James got down on one knee, reached into his pocket, pulled out a ring and asked Ramsey to marry him.
She said, “Yes”.
“He was saying words to me, and I was hearing him, but I still didn’t comprehend until he got down on his knee,” Ramsey said.
It was the perfect finish to a perfect race.
“Best day ever,” added Ramsey.
Now, Ramsey and James are ready to tie the knot of marriage, a marathon that is much longer than 26.2 miles.
“Maybe we’ll get married at next year’s Cleveland Marathon,” Ramsey quipped.
James and Ramsey finished the half-marathon in under two hours; it was a personal best for Ramsey, and a goal she set before the race.