Thirty-one-year-old Anthony Johnson and 35-year-old James Makokis started the Vancouver Marathon as engaged and finished as a married couple.
As they neared the 20-mile mark, the couple veered slightly off-course to attend their wedding ceremony and exchange vows in a teepee on English Bay Beach. The ceremony celebrated their culture as Makokis is Cree from Saddle Lake in Canada, and Johnson is Navajo from Arizona.
"It's definitely motivating for your run time if you're getting married. Running to the altar," Johnson told CTV Vancouver. "We wanted to do something fun and different."
"And special and unique and exciting," Makokis added. "We thought, 'what a good way of being healthy together.'"
The couple wore tuxedo T-shirts throughout the race, but threw on tuxedo jackets during their nuptials. They were surrounded by friends, family, marathon spectators, and even tour groups.
The pair got engaged last July and came up with the idea while training for separate marathons.
"We kind of started seeing marathon training as a metaphor for a relationship in terms of you have to put in the work and you have to have a good attitude," Johnson told Runners World. "So we thought it would be a great way to celebrate our union by getting married."
The couple had run smaller road races together before tying the knot and hope to continue to participate in marathons together as a married couple.