The New York City marathon brings tons of inspirational stories of folks overcoming physical and emotional struggles to participate in and persevere the run. This year, a more romantic story made its way into the history of the marathon when a woman stopped three-quarters of the way through her run to propose to her girlfriend, who was cheering her on from the sidelines.
Clarisa Alayeto, a government worker from The Bronx, was nearing the 20-mile mark when she took a detour. She found her girlfriend, Mariely Del Valle, and as the song “Para Siempre” by Kany Garcia—the couple’s favorite song—played, Alayeto got down on one knee to propose.
Del Valle said yes.
“When I heard the song on the radio I thought ‘that’s weird’ and [then] I saw her on her knees and was just shocked,” Del Valle, a teacher at a DREAM charter school, told the New York Post.
The previous evening, Del Valle had asked Alayeto if she was planning to ask her to marry her during the race.
“Last night I asked her, ‘You’re not going to propose tomorrow are you?’ And she said, ‘Of course not, that’s too much for me,'” Del Valle continued.
According to the New York Post, Del Valle and Alayeto have known each other “for forever” but started dating a year ago when they connected on Facebook.
Family members and friends were all there during the proposal to share in the joyful moment for the couple. After the proposal, Alayeto continued on with the race and finished the marathon in under nine hours.
Alayeto trained hard for the marathon and had to overcome some health issues to get ready. She shared her thoughts about her journey on her Facebook page:
“I experienced so many challenges along my run, I cried, I wanted to give up. But I kept thinking about my community and my family who were counting on me to get it done. You all were my why. Why I didn’t stop,” she wrote.
“I wanted to be the example in my community of someone who can defy the odds through hard-work and persistence. Im an ordinary person who grew up in the projects in the South Bronx. From losing over 100lbs – Reversing Diabetes – and completing the NYC Marathon I want you to know that if I did it you can definitely do it.”
Now that Alayeto’s marathon is finished, she can move on to the next big thing—getting ready for marriage!
“I can’t wait to marry my best friend,” she said.