A keen marathon runner could not believe his eyes when he noticed that a sign his supportive boyfriend was holding up during a race was asking for his hand in marriage.
Zachary Zulkowsky, 35, took a second to realize what was happening as he stopped mid-race at the Chicago Marathon to read the sign his boyfriend, Samuel Paul, 31, was holding in the air.
Then, when the moment hit, a tearful Zachary answered, “Yes,” before heading over for a loving embrace worthy of the Love Actually-style proposal that Samuel had pulled off.
To date, Zachary has run 19 marathons, and Samuel wanted to propose sometime special, tied to a hobby Zachary is passionate about.
Popping such a big question during a marathon was extremely difficult, Samuel said, as there are many moving parts and Zachary was on track to finish 30 minutes quicker than he had the previous year.
With his camera rolling, Samuel recorded himself cycling around the track on October 9, initially stopping to hold up general signs of support for Zachary.
Then, at the 25-mile marker, Samuel decided to “wing it,” handing a stranger his phone and asking them to record the moment, as Samuel held up an encouraging sign as Zachary approached.
Once Zachary had stopped, his boyfriend then swapped signs, moving on to one that was asking for his hand in marriage.
Samuel, who lives in Florida, later shared the video on his social media channels, with the post receiving a wave of love from many viewers.
Next year, Zachary, who is based in Chicago, plans to move to Florida, too, and the couple have already started their pre-wedding planning.
Speaking of the proposal, Samuel said: “I was already super emotional leading up to the actual proposal.
“I began tearing up several miles ahead of the actual proposal.
“When it came to the actual moment everything around us felt like white noise and it was only the two of us standing there at the 25-mile marker.
“As I looked into his eyes I knew and I felt that we were both on the same wavelength and that he is my person.
“There has been an outpouring amount of support across the board since we announced our engagement and since I posted it on TikTok and social media.
“Friends and family from all over the world began to reach out to the both of us and even endless support from strangers off social media – so many words of encouragement and love.”