It was a Blue Cross Broad Street Run that one local couple will never forget and it had nothing to do with their time of the rain at Sunday’s 2016 race.
That’s because Mike Dziura got down in the middle of Broad Street – City Hall in the background – and proposed to his girlfriend Paula Barg right in the middle of Broad Street as family and friends watched on both sides of the street.
“I had no idea,” said Paula. “All I knew was that I was upset with the weather, that my hair was ruined and I was really into my time so I kept looking down at my watch.”
The couple was on a 7:40 pace – a short distance from their home along Locust Street – when some of the signs along the way started to make sense including friends and family along the course calling ahead to the next people. Then Mike and a friend pulled a quick switch with Mike’s best friend (also named Mike) right near City Hall.
“My fiancé Mike gave him his sweatshirt and then (other Mike) gave him the ring,” said Paula.
They then made the turn back onto Broad Street and toward their home at Broad and Locust
“His family was on one side of the street so we ran to them and they told us that my family was actually on the other side of the street so were trying to cut across to get to them – which was part of the plan – and then in the middle… he got down on one knee.”
Philadelphia-based photographer Amanda Coe, strategically placed in the middle of Broad Street near Locust Street (about 6 miles into the 10-mile run) captured the moment Paula – an expression of shock – said yes.
Video shot by Paula’s family captures the proposal and the cheers of other fellow runners and elated family members – some who ran halfway on the course and nearly got ran over in the process. After a kiss and hug, the newly engaged couple ran toward Paula’s family tears in their eyes.
Paula, who works at Comcast, says she “kind of blacked out” and doesn’t remember exactly what Mike, who serves as an assistance principal at a Center City charter school, told her.
Mike filled her in, “he said, ‘I love you more than anything and I would love to have the rest of my life by your side,’ something along those lines.”
The couple never did finish the race.
“It was very convenient to be able to stop the race at that point,” said Paula. “My family must think I was crazy for this, I even said I was going to finish but there was no way, I could barely walk and could have cared less.”
So will they eventually get back on Broad Street?
Paula and Michael often run together and that maybe sometime they will run the final four miles to the Navy Yard.
Congrats to the couple.