Best Motivation Ever

A winning proposal helps an ultramarathoner finish Leadville

While the rest of the country was enjoying summer this past weekend, we here in Colorado got an early taste of October with three days of rain and dustings of snow above 10,000 feet. The weather didn’t stop the Leadville 100-mile ultra marathon though, and for one Jason Koop, who helps coach Dean Karnazes, there was no way the foul weather and frigid temps were going to stop him from running every sodden mile of the race. That’s because he had planned to propose to his longtime girlfriend Liz on the red carpet that leads to the finish line. He carried the ring with him the entire 22+ hours he was on the course. Fortunately, she said, “Yes.”

The more I thought about Koop’s dramatic proposal, the more I realized what an amazing motivator Koop had set up for himself. Having been through the excitement leading up to the words, “Will you marry me?” myself, I know the power of that anticipation. Nothing could bring me down and the world seemed more beautiful and alive. The colors of the landscape appeared hyper-saturated. By putting his proposal at the end of his Leadville run, he’d given himself an incredible positive image to focus on as he battled hypothermia and against the limits of his body. By carrying a visual of him kneeling at the finish through months of training and throughout the race, he knew he HAD to finish. And by carrying the ring, he had a constant physical reminder of the big moment to come.

In my last post (here), I mentioned how The Fear (a.k.a. an early death) was my prime motivation for staying fit. But let’s face it; The Fear is a big bummer—even though it works for me. Koop on the other hand found something positive—running Leadville was only the lead-up to the proposal. I’m sure some, ahem, cynical women might see this as a bit self-serving, but I’m sure some women—and frankly every man—would see it as proof of Koop’s love for Liz, that he’d go through hell to be with her.

Anyone else got a story like Koop’s? If so let’s hear it. The closest anecdote I’ve got can be found here.