Ah, love. It is the sweetest, most sensational emotion/feeling/verb there is. Many times, when two lovers are ready and willing to spend the rest of their lives together, marriage ensues. And in these modern times, it is only fitting to perform outlandish proposals and film them for all of YouTube to see.
Or, you can just play it old school and get down on one knee in a quiet corner in Greece in front of a giant Spartan statue. That's how Andrei Nana did it.
Except instead of just proposing to the love of his life, Claire Dorotik, Nana first ran a 153-mile ultra marathon carrying the wedding ring.
The day after the Spartathlon race, Nana took Dorotik to the statue of King Leonidas of Sparta, which was also the finish line of the marathon, and there he proposed. "It was a simple proposal," he said. "But what made it special was the symbolism of the location. I carried the ring with me during the entire race."
He admits he first started running as a way to get over another girl he was dating during law school. The relationship ended suddenly and led him to take up running as a way to clear his mind and find focus, he says. "I was devastated...[but running] changed my life, saved my life, and led me to Claire."
Nana goes on to explain how elite the Spartathlon race actually is: "Every year, 350 of the best ultra athletes in the world receive invitations to participate in this race;" however, less than 50 percent actually finish.
"An ultra marathon is technically any race longer than 26.2 miles, however, most ultra runners consider ultra marathons a race over 100km (62miles) in length." There are two classifications for ultra marathons: set distance, or set time, explains Nana. The Spartathlon combines both set distance and set time to create the ultimate ultra marathon. The history of the marathon dates back to ancient times when it was said that Pheidippides ran from Athens to Sparta in 490 BC and arrived in just one day. It was believed that to run such a distance and at such a speed was impossible, until 1982 when it was proven otherwise by the British Royal Air Force.
It is entirely possible to run 250 kilometers in just under 40 hours. Therefore, every year in September, this ultra race takes place in Athens, Greece. Nana says runners are required to complete the race in less than 36 hours. With a clear goal in mind for the finish line, Nana ran through the Spartathlon in 30 hours and 52 minutes, ranking him at 27th place worldwide.
Since both Nana and Dorotik are ultra runners, they naturally met at a race. "Claire and I met in January at a 100 miles race in Tampa called Long Haul 100," says Nana. When they met, Dorotik was living in Colorado, but she decided to move to Miami in May in order to be closer to Nana.
He says how he and his fiancé spend their time working and training for races, and he himself does not spend much time on the Internet nor does he own a TV. So, when we asked him what he thought about all those viral video proposals, he didn't really know what we were talking about.
"I am not sure of which videos you are referring to, but I can say my proposal has nothing to do with them. It was unique for us in the sense that it was specific for something we are passionate about...[and it was] not easy to complete the race. And from what I've been told, it was considered very romantic by many of our female friends," he says with a smile.
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