Recalled: Finish Line Love

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, love is in the air. So this week, we dipped into the recent archives to highlight three of the most romantic and magnetic finish line moments ever captured on camera. 

The Couple: Mirinda Carfrae and Tim O’Donnell

Mirinda Carfrae and Tim O’Donnell embrace at the finish line of the 2013 Ironman World Championship. Photo: John David Becker

The Moment:

Hollywood could not have scripted a more spontaneous, more passionate embrace than the one between Mirinda “Rinny” Carfrae and Tim O’Donnell after her win in the 2013 Ironman World Championships. The Aussie had just won her second world title with an overall run course record of 2:50:35 and still had energy to leap into the arms of her fiancé O’Donnell (who had placed fifth in the men’s race). As cameras rolled–and spectators swooned–the power couple’s pure joy for one another was palpable. The pair married a couple of months later and are now the parents of two, including their recent addition, son Finnian, born last month.  

The Couple: Patrick Lange and Julia Hofman

Patrick Lange proposed after winning the 2018 Ironman World Championship. Photo: Donald Miralle/Ironman

The Moment:

In 2018, Patrick Lange of Germany not only won the Ironman World Championship, but he broke the course record, too. Yet Lange still had unfinished business when he reached the finish line. Mike “The Voice of Ironman” Reilly barely got a few words out of the champ in his interview before Lange pulled his girlfriend, Julia, from the crowd and got down on one knee. “Julia, do you want to marry me?” he asked a clearly shocked Hofman. She managed a nod and a yes between sobs as Lange comically fell to the ground, awash in relief and exhaustion. Reilly roared, “She said yes!” into the microphone and the crowd erupted in cheers. The kicker? This all happened before the second place finisher, Belgium’s Bart Aernouts, even crossed the line. Lange and Hofman were married in August of 2019. 

The Couple: Cody Beals and James Cooper

Cody Beals and partner James Cooper embrace after Cody won the 2019 Ironman Mont-Tremblant triathlon. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

The Moment:

Beals’ win at Ironman Mont Tremblant in 2019 was a breakthrough for more than one reason. Sure, he finished in 7:58:34–a PR and course record. But when he hugged and planted an enthusiastic kiss on his partner, James Cooper, Beals made a powerful, positive statement for the LGBT+ community. As the first openly gay male pro triathlete, Beals’ finish line lip lock celebrated that love is love, in triathlon–and beyond. Beals recently reminisced on the magnetic moment, posting on Instagram for National Hugging Day on Jan. 21. “A hug can convey so many different emotions,” he posted. “Love, respect, friendship, relief… I hope hugs are back soon!”