It’s not often I’m excited about waking up at 7 in the morning to head into D.C. Truth be told the prospect of that early morning wasn’t all that appealing, but knowing what the payoff would be made the early start worth it!
A month or so ago I got a call from my friend Brett. I’ve known Brett since high school. We both went to Virginia Tech, we travelled to Europe together, and ran in the same group of friends for many years. Brett has been dating a girl named Michelle for many years, dating back to our Virginia Tech days. In this phone call he gave me the good news, that he was going to propose to Michelle! He then told me that he wanted me there to take pictures of him popping the question on his soon to be surprised fiancée.
How do you surprise a girl by proposing to her when you have a photographer right there taking pictures you ask? Simple really, you run a marathon!
Brett was running in the Rock n Roll Marathon in D.C. Michelle and his parents were there to cheer him on. As for me? My cover story was that I was there to take pictures of Brett as he was running in the marathon because I was thinking about getting into the marathon running photography business (I’m not). The plan was fool proof! Saturday morning came along, I jumped into my car, then onto the metro, and headed to Union Station. From there I walked over to the Capitol to meet up with Michelle and Brett’s parents.
When I got there that morning, I had a mini heart attack. Brett told everyone to wait for him around mile marker 14. We theorized that he would get there around 9, 9:30am, so I arrived a little before 8:30am. I walked over to Constitution Avenue, found mile marker 14, and saw no one. I really mean no one. Barely any pedestrians, no runners, and more importantly no Michelle or his parents. I called Michelle a couple of times with no response. At this point I started to freak out that I lost them and that I would miss the event.
Luckily, after they emerged from a building that had no cell reception, I found them! We headed up and found a spot to sit on the curb, and proceeded to wait for Brett’s arrival.
As you can see, Michelle has no clue what’s about to happen. Also of note is that Brett’s mother also had no clue what was going to happen, but his father did. We waited here on this curb for a while actually. Runners started to trickle down, so I snapped some random shots of runners while sneaking in a few of Michelle.
We finally see Brett running down the street. Michelle, who still has no clue stands up to wave at him. Brett, dressed in his finest I must say, jogs over to us. As he’s coming over he says to Michelle, “Hey, do you have my other shoes? My feet are killing me.” Michelle says yes, and starts to dig through her backpack to find them, still entirely unaware.
As Michelle is digging through the bag, Brett walks over to her and grabs her hand and gives her a kiss. She still seems mostly clueless about what’s about to happen.
As Brett gets down onto one knee, Michelle may or may not realized by this point what’s happening!
Her initial shock eventually, as you are about to see, turns into pure joy. Michelle said YES!
I love that last picture with the guy running in the background with his arms up cheering since we had many people run by clapping and yelling as Brett was proposing!
Being the man that Brett is though, there was still a marathon to run! Off he went, leaving behind one very happy fiancée!
It was such and honor and a joy to take part in this moment. This is really a once in a lifetime thing that you can never recreate. I’m very happy for both of you Brett and Michelle, and I thank you for allowing me to share in this moment with you guys. Here’s to the start of your personal marathon that will be so worth running! Congrats!!
A freelance photographer serving the Northern Virginia, DC, and Maryland area, I specialize in weddings, portraits, and event email@example.com