With an assist from his boss, Dan Koh, Mayor Marty Walsh’s chief of staff, proposed to his girlfriend Amy Sennett at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
She said yes.
Both Koh and Sennett ran the race and finished around 1:45 p.m. Walsh stood just past the finish line and presented the couple with the engagement ring.
Ever the planner, Koh meticulously arranged the final portion of the race and the engagement. Every .1 mile starting at mile 24.8, a different friend held up a poster with a message to the couple. Each of the 12 posters had a line from a poem that Koh wrote for Sennett.
Amy, you’ve changed my life
We’ve been through it all
From Boston – (Kaya!)
To DC – (M Street!)
To New York – (Cramped Studio!)
To Philadelphia – (Talula’s Garden!)
… and back.
There’s a lot we have left to learn
But I know one thing for sure
I love you, and will love you, forever
You’re the answer to all my questions
But I have one question left to ask …
Koh actually had one of the mayor’s speechwriters look at the poem beforehand. “That was after hours, so it was legal,’’ Koh said. “He made a couple of great edits.’’
Like many of the people who propose at the finish line, running has a particularly personal spot in their lives. The couple met in 2009 at Harvard Business School when Sennett told a group of classmates that she was looking for a running buddy. Koh quickly reached out to her.
“I knew that she was a cute blonde girl who was obviously smart, so I thought this was my in,’’ Koh said. “She kind of got me into the running, and that’s how we started.’’
“I was happy to have someone take me up on my offer,’’ Sennett said.
They started dating about two months after the running sessions began, and they haven’t stopped since. Both have run a double-digit number of marathons, and Monday was their third time running Boston together.
Before joining Walsh’s administration, Koh worked as an adviser to former Mayor Tom Menino, and was more recently chief of staff to Arianna Huffington at the Huffington Post. Sennett works for the Boston 2024 Olympic bid as the vice president of international strategy and assistant general counsel.
She works on the international side of Boston 2024 largely because of Koh’s presence at City Hall, they said, in order to avoid a conflict of interest.
Despite their professional overlap, it was the running that really brought them together.
“It’s how I was able to convince her to talk to me the first time,’’ Koh said. “It’s a great way to get to know somebody.’’
Pictures from the 119th Boston Marathon