Durban - Popular television weatherman, Derek van Dam, created a stir at the Comrades Marathon finish line when he proposed to his girlfriend, soon after they completed the race at the Sahara Kingsmead Stadium, in Durban, on Sunday.
ENCA’s Van Dam raced to the finish line - 30 minutes ahead of his fianceé - where he waited patiently with a bouquet of white flowers and a ring to pop the question in front of thousands of spectators.
Tara Hossack, 29, nearly ruined the surprise, as she finished just under two minutes before the final cut-off shot was fired.
Hossack is a host and producer of Runners World Radio and Bicycling Broadcast, a surfer, hip hop dancer and Comrades Marathon runner.
This was the couple’s second Comrades Marathon together.
The popular weatherman, dressed in a blue and white running kit which made him unrecognisable at first, took the media and spectators by surprise with his brave proposal.
As Hossack crossed the finish line and hugged Van Dam, she screamed with joy at completing the race.
She was unaware that there was more to come.
Van Dam handed her the flowers and then went down on one knee and said: “Will you marry me?”
Before Hossack could answer, spectators cheered and a mob of journalists and photographers surrounded the couple.
She screamed “yes” and was in tears.
The couple have been together for two years.
The eNCA chief meteorologist’s proposal was captured by the SABC which has exclusive broadcasting rights to the Comrades Marathon.
Van Dam told the Daily News he had wanted to make their Comrades experience extra special.
“We have been training for months for this and to complete it together again this year, makes it very special,” Van Dam said.
“It does not get any more special than this and it is significant for us,” the beaming groom-to-be said.
Van Dam could not hold the tears back when Hossack said “yes” and let out a deep sigh of relief.
“She was very surprised. I really want to spend the rest of my life with her. She is really special to me. I wanted to take this opportunity in front of all these people to propose,” he said.
Minutes after the proposal, congratulatory messages began pouring in on social network sites.
There were more than 200 “likes” on Van Dam’s Facebook page.
He posted on bother sites: “she said yes!! And we both finished.”
Anne @26DegreesSouth tweeted: “Congrats to #SouthAfrica’s favourite adopted American, @WXmanVanDam, on his engagement after #comrades.”
Van Dam was born in the US and has been working as an e.tv weather presenter for six years.