Sarah Hoover was about 7 miles into her run Sunday morning when her life changed forever.
Justin Scott proposed to Hoover in the middle of the Prairie Fire Half Marathon. Hoover was running with Scott's father, Craig, when she ran up to her husband-to-be. Scott held a sign that read "Sarah will you marry me?"
Hoover's pace picked up and she started yelling "Yes!" Other runners started cheering as they ran by, which made for a special moment, Scott said.
"My heart was racing," Hoover said. "I couldn't breathe."
Scott, 25, of Kansas City, and Hoover, 22, of Wichita, have been dating for a year and a half and have been talking about marriage. They recently went ring shopping, so Hoover said she knew it was coming but didn't know when.
After the race started and Scott cheered on his girlfriend, he got in the car and drove to Riverside Park, the location of one of their first dates.
They had joked about doing the proposal during the race. Scott is a former track and cross-country runner at Wichita State, and he introduced Hoover to running. But she didn't think he would actually propose midrace. In fact, she thought Scott was going to get on a knee Saturday during an all-day date he had planned.
"We were just sitting there and nothing was happening," Hoover said with a laugh. "I was like, 'I'm really tired. I think I'm ready to go home.' Maybe sometime tomorrow."
Scott said he thought about proposing before the race or as she crossed the finish line, but he knew she wasn't one for large crowds. So he went with the middle.
After the proposal and after Hoover said yes, she still had to finish the race, but she said she didn't want to. She just wanted to see Scott again and celebrate.
She kept running, though. She entered the race, her first half marathon, with a goal. She wanted to beat an hour and 45 minutes, but after the proposal, that goal took a backseat.
As she ran away with Scott's dad, Hoover said, she was hyped on adrenaline, which helped her finish the race but took her mind off it. Craig said he tried to keep a mean poker face until the proposal, but after, he was just as excited. As he crossed the line with Hoover, he pointed to her for the crowd to see.
Hoover finished in 1:50, including the few minutes taken up with the proposal.
"We were running toward the end, and Craig said, 'Let's catch that girl,' " Hoover said. "I said, 'I don't care. I just want to see Justin.' "
As Hoover crossed the finish line, the race announcer told the crowd of the proposal, and she was welcomed with one of the loudest cheers of the day.
She held up her hand to show off the ring, and after she finished, other competitors approached her to give her their congratulations.
Scott said it went exactly to plan.
"She starts the race without a ring," he said. "And she gets to finish the race with all the excitement of an engagement."