Talk about making a run for it!
New York City marathoner, Joe Duarte, proposed to his girlfriend, Katie Mascenik on Sunday, during his life-changing mid-marathon break, only to realize the only good photo of the moment was captured by a stranger! But, after a relentless hunt to find their unofficial proposal photographer, the newly engaged couple has finally reached the finish line of their marathon mystery, Today reports.
New Jersey couple, Joe Duarte and Katie Mascenik, who have participated in several marathons together, met at the gym and connected over their mutual love of running. Mascenik decided to cheer on her love from the sidelines in this year's NYC marathon, only to receive the biggest surprise of her life!
Having run the first 17 miles of the 26.2-mile race through the streets of New York with a diamond ring in his pocket, Duarte, who stopped mid-race to ask his girlfriend a question she would never forget — to which she responded, "yes!" — discovered an unfortunate issue post-proposal when it came to the photo that captured the moment.
The only clear photo taken of their picture perfect proposal was captured by a complete stranger, who Mascenik described as a woman, "in her late 20's" wearing "blue spandex pants and tan or grey vest and blue shirt," she told Today. A friend of the couple, who had tried to snap a photo of the special moment, realized that the only photos taken included an obscured mystery hand and phone (see below), which happened to be capturing the very same moment of Duarte down on one knee, but from a better angle.
Photo: Kristen Mascenik Celecki via Facebook
So, after Duarte crossed the finish line, another relentless race ensued for the marathon couple, determined to reach out through social media to find the bystander who became their unlikely photographer. "It wasn't until the next day when I got the pictures from people that I realized what happened, so I didn't ask the girl to send me the picture," said newly engaged Mascenik who was "so caught up in the moment."
The mystery hand, who got a beautiful, close-up view of the engagement, belonged to camera ready Val Ferrara, who had not one, but seven photos of the newly engaged couple! Mascenik made a statement to Today summing up the pursuit saying, "I am so grateful for everyone's help finding the picture — it's beautiful."
Congratulations to the happy couple — both on the engagement, and on finding the photo!