When Dave Truxton toed the start line at last year’s North Mitten at Crystal Mountain, the Traverse City runner had more on his mind than the fact he was about to run his very first 13.1 race miles.

He was thinking about the finish line — not only crossing it, but also doing something special and memorable for his girlfriend, Sara Tonder, who planned to meet him there after completing the North Mitten 5K.

“I was more nervous about proposing than running the actual race,” Dave remembers. 

You read that right: after pushing through his half marathon, Dave planned to get down on one knee and ask Sara to marry him.

“We love running races together and it seemed like the perfect time to ask her to be my race partner forever,” he says.

The proposal plan

To ensure everything fell into place, Dave talked through his plans with Sara’s mom as well as her best friend. It was Sara’s best friend who would capture the moment with a video.

During the race, Dave carried fuel and Sara’s engagement ring. “It was difficult to figure out how I was going to hold the ring during the race and I ended up putting it in a Camelbak,” he says. 

A finish line beginning

After crossing the finish line, with the camera rolling, Dave stood next to Sara and took off his Camelbak. He then pulled out a small black box and got down on one knee.

“She had no idea,” he says of the proposal moment. “She was more focused on congratulating me on finishing my first half marathon — the look on her face was priceless.”

The couple, who met through an online dating site, share a love of running. Sara started running in 2010 while Dave began lacing up his running shoes about four years ago. Sara encouraged him to start racing.

“Dave never really started doing actual races until he met me,” she says.

The North Mitten

This northern Michigan race will forever hold a special place in their hearts, of course, and they’re planning to run it again this Memorial Day weekend. 

“I am running the 10K and Sara is running the 5K,” Dave says. “We both enjoy the scenic course.”

And as for the other Big Date on their calendar this year, the couple is tying the knot this fall.

“We are getting married Sept. 25, 2021 at Cobblestone Farms. It is the perfect spot for us as it is pretty much all outdoors, which is where we love to be,” Dave says. “It’s going to be a fall-themed wedding with close family and friends. And we can’t wait!”

About the North Mitten

This Half Marathon, 10K, and 5K race is set for Sunday, May 30, at Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville, Mich., about 45 minutes from Traverse City. Waves will be added in 10-minute increments as needed to ensure social distancing requirements.

North Mitten

The North Mitten Half Marathon, 10K and 5K is a combination of paved roads, dirt roads and trails. The North Mitten route consists of primarily flat, open trails on Crystal Mountain property and will not climb the mountain. Both races will start and finish at the white slopeside tent near the Crystal Clipper chairlift. This is a great spring race for beginners and experienced runners! 

The Discount: Use 21MRGHALF to save $10 off your half marathon entry. Use the code 21MRG to save $5 off your 10K or 5K entry. Prices go up May 1, so be sure to sign up soon to save on your registration. Sign up here.

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