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Wedding engagement at finish line during Panerathon 2014

Anthony Lemon, Natalie Lemon, Cadence Lemon and Valerie Lemon
Anthony Lemon, Natalie Lemon, Cadence Lemon and Valerie Lemon
Photograph taken by Danielle Coots

Amanda Mapas raced side by side with her boyfriend, Matt McDaniel during the Panerathon 2014 at Centerville High School on April 27 until he broke the stride and ran past her. The reason stunned Mapas and brought to tears as she ran through the finish line and saw McDaniel, her family and four special people wearing tee-shirts that said, "Will You Marry Me?"

Surprise proposal for Kettering resident
Surprise proposal for Kettering resident
Photograph taken by Danielle Coots

With a camera crew and photographers gathering with family at the finish line, Matt McDaniel rushed to beat Mapas to put the last touches on his proposal plan. As McDaniel rushed to put everyone in place and prep for the television cameras, he and their family kept a close eye on Mapas' progress as she rounded the track to the finish.

"I couldn't sleep last night because I was so afraid she [Mapas] would beat me," said Matt McDaniel.

Mapas is a nanny for the Lemon family. Anthony and Valerie Lemon were all smiles with their daughters, Natalie and Cadence and were more than happy to help out with the proposal plans. They wore plain white tee-shirts that clearly indicated the reason for the gathering. "We love her and want to see her happy," said Valerie Lemon.

As Mapas crossed the finish line, the family held a banner that said, "Amanda, I love you. Let's Race Into the Future Together." As the sign was lowered, the Lemon family stood. Mapas, obviously surprised and acknowledging she was on camera, was speechless until meeting the gaze of McDaniel. He took her hand and bent to one knee, with an engagement ring in his hand, and asked the fairy tale ending words, "Will you marry me", all the while family and friends cheered them on.

"Yes" was the answer followed by a sweet kiss to seal the deal.

"I'm just shocked," said Mapas. "This is not what I thought would happen when I woke up this morning. I'm very happy."

What better ending to a great race hosted by Panera? To sweeten the deal, at the end of the race, the happy couple were entitled to a delicious sandwich and treats from Panera as part of the race. How much better could it get?

Congratulations to the happy couple!