Leanna and Daniel

How We Met: Danny and I both grew up in Ocala, FL and our paths probably crossed so many times, yet we still never met. Danny is a year older than me and started school at our local community college. By the time I got to college, Danny was a sophomore and second-year college ambassador. I decided to get involved in our student activities board to help the time pass before I left for a bigger university in 2 years. As a part of the leadership team for the Student Activities Board and Danny also being a student leader on campus, we were a part of a lot of leadership training and programs and events together. The ambassadors and SAB leadership team went on a retreat before classes started to work on team building skills and other leadership initiatives.

The first night in the hotel, all of the boys decided to play a prank on the girls. We thought we were outsmarting them by throwing water on them when they knocked on the door. We somehow all ended up running up and down the halls of the hotel trying to escape the boys from throwing flower on us. As I was running back past my room (where I had thrown water into the hallway) I slipped on the water that remained and fell. At that very moment, Danny caught up to me and dumped an entire bag of flower on top of me (see photo attached.) From that moment on, we couldn’t spend enough time together. We’ve been together 6 years now and have been engaged since last November. Our wedding date is October 22, 2016!

How He Asked: I am full crazy and decided in February of 2014 that I wanted to run a marathon. I signed up for the SpaceCoast Marathon in Melbourne, FL because that is where I ran my first half marathon and the route is absolutely gorgeous. Danny’s aunt Martha and Uncle Sean also live right on the race route and started the tradition of tailgating all morning during the race. They pass out beverages and refreshments to runners and have a great time. There was no question in my mind that this was going to be my first marathon race.

I went ahead and registered and went through all of the training and then it was race day. November 30, 2014. My parents and sister had come into town to support me and so did Danny’s brother, Mike and finace Kristina, I went to bed really early the night before and was a little frustrated with Danny because he didn’t come to bed until 2 am. He was the one dropping me off at the starting line at 5:30 am and I knew it was going to be impossible to wake him up. Danny ended up dropping me off at the finish line, kissed me goodbye, and wished me good luck. It would be 15 miles before I saw him next. Around mile 15, I passed his aunt and uncles house. I grabbed a quick snack for an energy boost, got sprayed down with the water hose, said hi to everyone at the tailgate (the number kept building – there were around 15 people there) and continued on with my race.

I had to pass their house again at mile 20. When I started to run by, I noticed that the number of people had grown again. There were maybe 20-25 people there now, including Danny’s mom, Jan. I thought this was little strange because she doesn’t typically go out of town, but I didn’t really think anything of it. I also noticed that Danny has changed into running clothes, which was weird because Danny hates to run. I said hello to everyone again, grabbed a cup of water, and continued to finish the race. I looked to my side and noticed that Danny has started running with me. I was ecstatic! He was going to run the hardest part of the race with me, the final 6 miles.

I was in so much physical pain from the race, but I couldn’t believe that he was actually going to run with me. Along the route, Danny kept mentioning things about bright pink signs on telephone poles. By the time he said something about the third sign, I was a little annoyed. I wasn’t looking at signs, I was in PAIN! He continued to support and encourage me and kept pointing out these signs that I wasn’t noticing. Finally, I looked up and read a sign that said “I knew I loved you when you loved Marley.” I thought to myself…that’s really strange. The writing on the sign looks like my mom’s handwriting and our dog’s name is Marley.

I didn’t think about it again and kept trying to push through my run. Danny pointed out a final sign that read, “I love that you’re so crazy, so I guess that makes me crazy too.” Danny always jokes that I’m a crazy women so I started to question what was going on. I still had 2 miles left though and I didn’t really have anything on my mind except finishing this race. At mile 26, right before I turned right to go into the finishing corral, Danny said “I love you!” and sprinted off to the left. I didn’t think much of it because I figured he couldn’t cross the finish line with me since he wasn’t officially registered. As I came around the turn to the finish line I was overcome with emotion and pain.

I crossed the finish line and looked at the announcer to hear my name and that I had officially finished my marathon. Instead of saying the normal announcement of “and now crossing the finish line is Leanna Marcus with a time of ___,” I heard, “Leanna Marcus has just crossed the finish line and Leanna, Dan has a question he wants to ask you.” At that moment I looked to my left at the announcer and was extremely confused. Then I looked up in front of me and saw my entire family inside the finish lines gates holding signs that read “Leanna Will You Marry” and at the end of the line I saw Danny holding a sign that read “ME?”

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I was so overcome with emotion and exhaustion that I fell into Danny’s arms and immediately was a blubbering mess. He put me back up straight and got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.

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Everyone around us started clapping and came up to us after asking for our numbers to send us photos that they took. It was the most amazing day and I remember every detail, except what Danny said to me before he asked. I think I was crying too loud to hear.

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