Was it sweetly romantic – or a way of making her moment all about him?
It’s known as one of the most challenging marathons in the world.
Every year, the New York marathon sees more than 50,000 entrants pace themselves as they run through all of the city’s five boroughs on a gruelling course stretching out over more than 42 kilometres.
Kaitlyn Curran knew how difficult the race would be. That’s why the New Jersey-based nurse had trained for more than a year to run the New York marathon last weekend, the first she had ever competed in. And it’s why her boyfriend of four years, firefighter Dennis Galvin, waited at Queensboro bridge, just after the marathon’s halfway point, to cheer her on.
Curran spotted her boyfriend by the bridge, which connects Queens to Manhattan, and ran over to say hello. That’s when she noticed that Galvin had dropped to one knee and pulled out a ring box.
That’s right: the man was proposing to her in the middle of the marathon.
In a video of the proposal, which has since gone viral, Curran tearfully accepts the ring and gives her new fiancé a kiss on the cheek. Then she tells him: “I’m not even finished [the marathon] yet,” and turns back to continue running her race.
While the moment itself was sweet, Galvin’s timing could have been better: Curran still had 16 kilometres of the marathon left to run.
And although she completed the race in a very respectable four hours and 24 minutes, Galvin has been criticised for interrupting his now-fiancée’s momentum, stealing her thunder on the day of her important race, and adding crucial minutes onto her finishing time.
Overall, the viral moment has sparked a conversation about why many men choose to propose at big events in their female partner’s lives, such as marathons and graduations – moments that aren’t about them or their relationship at all, but are rather about the woman’s achievements.
Many of the people tweeting about the the proposal at the New York marathon were furious about Galvin’s behaviour.
“Literally my favourite thing about this marathon proposal is that 30 seconds after he puts the ring on, she says ‘I’m gonna go finish this race’ - like every woman ever who has been interrupted by a man doing whatever he wants,” one woman tweeted. “She doesn’t even kiss him goodbye.”
But others defended Galvin, calling the proposal sweet and romantic.
This isn’t the first time a man has interrupted a woman’s sporting prowess with a marriage proposal. Cast your mind back to the 2016 Rio Olympics, when Chinese Olympian Qin Kai got down on one knee to propose to his girlfriend, diver He Zin… as she was receiving her silver medal.
The debate about whether public proposals are selfish or sweet is likely to rage on indefinitely – and ultimately, the most important thing is that the person being proposed to feels like their desires and boundaries have been considered and respected.
But in the meantime, perhaps everyone should agree to hold off on public proposals while their partners are literally in the middle of achieving something amazing.
That way, everybody wins.