BOSTON | Just before the Boston Marathon bomb explosions, a Hobart runner quietly dropped to one knee and proposed to his girlfriend.
Jose Elizondo, 26, of Hobart, said he had completed the Boston Marathon, located his girlfriend Marie Abegg and then asked for her hand in marriage as part of a surprise planned a month ago.
Abegg, 24, of Hobart, and Elizondo said the special moment for them won't be marred, despite the events that happened just afterward.
"It was something positive that happened on an extremely unfortunate day," Abegg said.
An hour after the couple's romantic moment, which was captured by a photographer friend and others who gathered, events shifted to confusion and horror as both heard two bomb explosions.
"The sound was like a big, loud boom like a cannon," Abegg said.
Only 20 seconds later, they heard a second explosion.
Despite not knowing exactly what had occurred, the two began walking in the opposite direction of the sounds.
"I just had a bad feeling about it," Abegg said.
Once they learned it had been two bomb explosions the two saw people running, emergency sirens sounding and police cars heading everywhere.
"We just kept walking and not stopping," Abegg said.
Cabs weren't available and neither wanted to take the city's subway fearing the possibility of another bomb.
As they walked, finally getting picked up by friend at Boston University, Elizondo continued to check his iPhone for calls and text messages.
Concern from family and friends was great — Elizondo received about 150 text messages.
"It was good to know," Elizondo said.
In retrospect, both are happy to have escaped from the horrific event uninjured.
"The bombs could have gone off any time or any place," Elizondo said.
Now back home, the two Hobart High School graduates are busy with a new gym they opened with Elizondo's sister, Jerrica, in March in Portage called the Crossroads.
Their wedding will probably take place next summer or fall. "No date has been set yet," Abegg said.
In the meantime, Abegg proudly shows off the diamond ring Elizondo placed on her finger at the end of the Boston Marathon.
Elizondo said he wore the diamond ring he had bought for Abegg on his pinkie finger all 26 miles of the grueling marathon.
"I started crying when he went down on one knee to propose to me because I thought he was in pain and needed a break ... When I realized he was proposing I just said, 'are you kidding?' I couldn't believe it," Abegg said.
Elizondo, who has been a runner since middle school, said the incidents at Boston won't stop him from competing in future running events.