Derek Mossholder went down to a knee after finishing the Reagan Run alongside his girlfriend, Donna Prather.
He wasn’t injured, though Donna thought as much. Instead, Derek popped the question, asking Donna to marry him. The answer: a resounding yes.
“Right when we hit the finish line, he grabbed my hand and got down on one knee,” said the 24-year-old Prather, a 2007 Dixon High School graduate. “I thought he hurt himself, then he asked me to marry him.”
Derek’s post-race proposal plan almost got eliminated by Donna’s work schedule.
“I couldn’t get off work at first, and he had this all planned,” said Donna, an employee of the Dixon Walmart. “It’s amazing that I was able to get it off, and it all worked out.”
Donna’s family and friends did a great job of keeping Derek’s plans a secret.
“The whole family knew, even our pastor and his wife,” Donna said. “I don’t know how everyone kept the secret for weeks.”
A year ago, Mossholder, 25, completed the Reagan Run in 22 minutes and 23 seconds. This time, 39:08. Nothing was wrong, but a lot was right.
“I could have run the race a lot faster, but the race was a metaphor for the rest of our lives,” Mossholder said. “We’re in it together.”
Mossholder wasn’t sure the time would ever be right to propose, even though he wanted to.
“I knew she was the girl I was supposed to marry,” he said. “But, I’m unemployed and in debt. I thought I’d never be able to propose to her.”
With some help, Mossholder got his wish.
“The rings were a blessing,” he said. “I didn’t even have to pay for them. They were a gift.”
Mossholder was born in Virginia, moved to Dixon, moved to Byron in second grade, moved back to Dixon midway through his sophomore year in high school, and has made other stops, including Rock Falls and Sterling, as well as the Illinois Youth Center correctional facility in St. Charles, where Mossholder said he earned his high school diploma.
Mossholder and Prather are members of The Worship Center in Dixon. They met at church and are focused on their 4-year-old son, Derek, and their upcoming marriage.
Mossholder couldn’t be happier with the way his Reagan Run proposal panned out.
“It was perfect,” he said. “That’s the only way to sum it up.”