At the 2013 Foot Lake 4 in Willmar, Ryan Miller wasn't running for a first-place finish, or even for a personal best. He was running toward something much better: his future wife.
Miller proposed to his girlfriend of over a year, Calli Halgren, at the Foot Lake 4 finish line Saturday. He had been looking for "the perfect spot" to propose, and decided that she would never see it coming after the race, especially in such a public setting.
"This seemed like a cool way to do it," said Miller, of Kerkhoven. "It's right out in the open. I want everyone to know how I feel about her."
Halgren said the first thought that went through her mind as Miller got down on one knee was: "Is he really doing this?"
"I was completely shocked," she said. "I never expected people to applaud when I got engaged. It's pretty awesome."
Her birthday is this weekend, and she had thought that Miller might propose then. But this proposal was a true surprise.
Miller had been planning the proposal for about a month. He had his grandparents and sister there for support - and, of course, the hundreds of runners and bystanders who witnessed the big moment as well.
The extra audience did add a bit of pressure to the proposal.
"I don't remember much about the race. I don't even know what my time was," Miller said. "I was very nervous. I knew she would say yes, but it was still a tough run."
Miller and Halgren don't have a date set for the wedding, but Miller plans to move to Eagan, where she lives, to be together.
"It will be nice to live in the same place," he said. "I can't wait to marry her. She understands everything about me, and she makes me smile even when I don't think I can."
Halgren feels the same way about her new fiancé.
"He's the greatest," she said. "He makes me laugh all the time. I just know that I always want to be with him."