This Couple Tied the Knot While Running a Marathon


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Talk about runner’s high in a marathon.

Anthony Johnson and James Makokis from Edmonton, Alberta tied the knot on May 7 during the 2017 BMO Vancouver Marathon. As the affianced couple neared the 20-mile mark of the 26-mile race, they joined a pop-up wedding that they arranged.


The ceremony occurred on English Bay Beach – a perfect choice as it’s near the race that the runners pass en route. To prepare for the big day, they contacted the marathon organizers about two months before the race. They relied on friends and family to do the rest.

“Anthony created a very detailed document for our friends and family to use the day of the wedding to set up the space,” Makokis wrote to Your Daily Dish. “He created this mobile wedding station to operate out of a hand drawn wagon. Everything was super organized so all our family had to do was follow instructions. We learned the key to a pop-up wedding is planning and organization. You also need a willing group of loved ones to set it up. We think they did a fantastic job.”

In honor of the occasion, they dressed up in tuxedo T-shirts that read: “We said ‘I Do’ at 32 km” — and they slipped on jackets for the 30-minute ceremony.

After the marathon, their story went viral across social media. Johnson told Your Daily Dish they had never planned on any of this social media attention to happen — but since it had — they wanted to share their wedded bliss from a social and political point of view.

“Married life is great! The decision was a natural progression in our relationship so there’s not a huge difference from before, but both of us definitely feel a sense of calm and security,” he wrote. “Having media coverage is totally unexpected but it’s a huge bonus and fun to see what comes our way. However, it’s not lost on us that our story is an opportunity to shed a positive light on the GLBT community, to show a positive side of First Nations and Indigenous Peoples and to be a happy story for people to hear about, especially in our turbulent political times.”

They were married in a teepee which celebrated their cultures — Makokis is from the Saddle Creek Cree Nation in Canada and Johnson is from the Navajo Nation from Arizona. Ironically, they met in Brooklyn, New York.

We actually met while I was living in Brooklyn working for a boot company. James was the ‘centerfold’ in Out Magazine for an article on the Montana Two Spirit Society. I emailed him to ask questions about the content of the article and we started chatting thereafter. He visited me in New York for my 30th birthday where we biked the entire city and had one of those only in New York romantic kind of days. That’s the day that really started our relationship,” Anthony Johnson told New York Magazine’s The Cut.


Anthony Johnson told Your Daily Dish there was so much to prepare and focus on for the marathon they didn’t have time for wedding jitters.

“Both of us definitely felt excitement the morning of the race as we arrived at the start line,” he wrote. “We were warmly received by race organizers and even got to walk through the elite runners section. Other runners heard about our story and were asking for selfies. There was a definite moment where we both said ‘wow, we’re actually doing this.’ Then, of course, we ran 20 miles before the ceremony and had all that time for our anxiety to build. So, we definitely felt pre-wedding pangs of nervousness or excitement, but no cold feet.”

They crossed the finish line as a married couple and hope to inspire others with their union.

“We hope other people will be inspired to be bold in their lives and do what makes them happy. Most of all, we want people to see that love is powerful, no matter who you are,” Anthony Johnson wrote to Your Daily Dish.


For their honeymoon, they booked a trip to Tofino, British Columbia on Vancouver Island. They’re also planning a more extensive honeymoon for five weeks around Christmas.

“We’re thinking Vietnam/Cambodia/Laos/Thailand or back packing in South America, visiting some of the different Indigenous Peoples down there,” they wrote to Your Daily Dish. “We’re open to suggestions.”

The happily married couple shared video of their ceremony, which was streamed live on Facebook.

James Makokis and Anthony Johnson wedding live.

Posted by Janice Mak on Sunday, May 7, 2017


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