This marathoner was sprinting towards the finish line for a different reason than all his fellow Boston runners yesterday.
Upon reaching the finish line, Greg Picklesimer dropped to one knee to propose to girlfriend, Carla White, who was lovingly waiting for him at the end of his long race.
“I had two goals in mind,” Picklesimer, 47, of Newton, Mass., told GoodMorningAmerica.com. “One was running under a certain time. And my bigger goal was to propose to Carla. My time goal fell apart a little bit after I was running, but the bigger goal more than made up for it.”
After completing the 26.2 miles in a still impressive time of 2 hours, 42 minutes and 32 seconds, with the diamond ring still intact, he said there was only one thing that could have come in the way of him and his hopefully soon-to-be fiancée.
“I had arranged for her to have a VIP ticket or credential into the grand stand area so she would be near the finish line so she could find me more easily,” he explained. “But I knew this was going to be the wild card–getting her into the finish area. That was the only thing I couldn’t control.”
Picklesimer walked up to a security guard, explained he was trying to propose and asked if there was any way she could greet him inside the finish area.
“He immediately told me, ‘No,’” a discouraged Picklesimer said.
The tightened security was obviously much more strict about who was and was not allowed in certain areas following last year’s terror attacks, but after a little more coaxing and discussion, the guard let White in just long enough to say, “Yes.”
“I’ve waited my whole life for him, so this is just the happiest day of my life,” White-Keefe told local affiliate WBZ of her easy answer. “I’m speechless.”
Picklesimer, a seasoned runner, also competed in the 2013 Boston Marathon, fortunately crossing the finish line before the horrific terrorist attack. However, those bombs going off certainly helped put everything into perspective for him.
“After everything that happened last year, it lit a fire under me that people you love could be taken from you at any moment,” he explained. “You just don’t know what could happen. The spirit and rebirth of the marathon this year, and my realization that life is short and you have to embrace it to its fullest while you can, it really did influence me. I want to be with her forever.”