Marriage proposal during race
'I got down on the knee and did the job'JONATHAN MCKEOWN
It started out as an adventure race, but for Kim Hogarth and Freya Sonneland it was the beginning of a life-long adventure.
Five hours into the Rollo's Adventure Race on Saturday a nervous Mr Hogarth had to put in the hard yards if he was going to achieve his goal. Leading his partner and teammate on a gruelling climb up Kaka Hill, he took her bike in a gesture of kindness while going over a few choice lines in his head.
"I forced Freya to go up Kaka Road which is quite a steep gravel road. It wasn't the ideal race route for us but I didn't want to miss that checkpoint as part of my plan, so I ended up pushing both our bikes up the majority of that hill," Mr Hogarth said.
"I had a bit of a pre-prepared speech and as we were going up the hill I had [the ring] in my hand unbeknown to Freya, and I was trying to brush up on my speech. It didn't quite come out as I had hoped so I had to revert to reading a bit, but I got down on the knee and did the job. And I got the yes."
The proposal was unexpected by more than one party. Mr Hogarth said the search and rescue guys who happened to be manning the checkpoint got a bit of a shock. But, of course, the biggest surprise was had by Miss Sonneland.
"I had absolutely no idea; in fact when we were at the top and he took the camera out of his pack I thought that's a bit odd - we don't normally take pictures on a race. But since he had just pushed my bike all the way up the hill I decided it wasn't worth discussing that point," Miss Sonneland said.
"It may not be what other people find romantic but it was just so personal to us and who we are as a couple, both separately and together, so it meant a huge amount to me."
To top off all the excitement Miss Sonneland, a deputy principal at Central School, and Mr Hogarth, a vehicle testing inspector and sleep physiologist, managed to finish third in the mixed team event in the six-hour Adventure Race.
Naturally the race result was not the most important outcome for Mr Hogarth.
"I contacted Chris [race organiser Chris James] last week and said ‘I am willing to be disqualified before we even start but I want to do something special for my lady, can I have a little inside information about where a significant control point is that I can use."'
Mr Hogarth also noted that for a proposal that occurred in such a remote location, it had received immediate attention.
"I wasn't considering the public exposure implications of it at the time, but I guess I inadvertently did anyway . . .
"It sounded like there was some pretty rampant rumours over the radio networks as people were speculating as who it might be."
With all the important people now informed, the happy couple were glad to share the story of their adventure 459 metres up Kaka Hill.
- © Fairfax NZ News