Alex and Brayden York after completing the 2016 BMO Vancouver Marathon.
Share:

Running is woven through the York’s love story

You can’t tell Alex and Brayden York’s love story without talking about running.

The pair started dating in the spring of 2014 when both were students at the University of Saskatchewan’s Edwards School of Business. Alex was training for the upcoming Saskatchewan Marathon half and Brayden, who was a naturally athletic soccer and football player, suggested they run together for some of their early dates.

Alex remembers being both excited and apprehensive about the idea.

“I was self conscious about my pace and how fast I was going,” she recalls. “How close are we, are our elbows bumping? Am I sweating? Did I wear a cute running outfit? I was overthinking everything.”

But for all the self consciousness, going for easy runs was a perfect way to talk and get to know each other. “If you go out for a fancy dinner or something, you’re sort of just staring at each other. That can be a little bit awkward and a little too formal,” Alex says.

Alex York, Brayden York and friend Brady Lange at the 2014 Saskatchewan Marathon weekend; all three ran the half marathon.
Alex York (nee Denysiuk), Brayden York and friend Brady Lange at the 2014 Saskatchewan Marathon weekend; all three ran the half marathon.

The running dates went so well that Brayden signed up to run the half marathon with Alex. The pair ran all 21.1 kilometres together and Alex got to witness Brayden cross his first finish line and receive his first finisher’s medal.

Brayden may not have been a runner when he started dating Alex, but he soon became one and the 2014 Sask. Marathon half was the first of many races they’ve done together. They did their first marathon — the BMO Vancouver Marathon — in 2016 and tackled 42.2 kilometres again at the same race the following year. While Brayden now considers himself retired from the marathon, he still enjoys racing shorter distances and joins Alex for portions of her marathon training long runs.

“It’s so nice to have an accountability partner because, whether or not he’s coming with me, he knows how committed I am to my goals and I know how committed he is to his goals,” Alex says. “We both know we want to work towards our goals and we support the other person in achieving their goals too.”

Alex and Brayden York got engaged while out for a run in Stanley Park in 2020.
Alex and Brayden York got engaged while out for a run in Stanley Park in 2020.

While Alex and Brayden’s relationship began along Saskatoon’s Meewasin Trail, their most memorable run took place on a Saturday morning in 2020 in Vancouver’s Stanley Park near where they were living at the time. Alex couldn’t understand why Brayden was acting so strangely until they turned down a deserted path and he got down on one knee to propose. Laughing, Alex remembers stopping her Garmin watch before saying yes.

“There’s nothing specific about today; it’s just a Saturday morning and we’re out for a run,” Brayden said. “But I wanted to propose to you like this because this is who we are and this is how we want to lives our life — just you, me, out for a run, sharing our life together.”

A little over a year later, when the couple found out they were pregnant, one of their first purchases was a jogging stroller. “Then we thought of the crib and the bassinet and all of that stuff,” Alex said.

The York family - Alex, Brayden, baby Oliver and dog Stanley - out for a Sunday run.
The York family – Alex, Brayden, baby Oliver and dog Stanley – out for a Sunday run.

That stroller has given Oliver — now a year and a half old — a front-row seat to his parents’ training and Alex’s favourite part of preparing for last fall’s Chicago Marathon was doing the last kilometres of her long runs alongside Brayden, Oliver and their dog Stanley. “I never wanted having a kid to have us stop doing what we love — I wanted to bring him along and make him part of it,” Alex says. “And it’s important to me that he sees his parents are strong and committed to living a healthy lifestyle and hopefully he wants to run when he gets older. But if he doesn’t, that’s totally fine too.”

For now, Oliver is watching from the stroller as his parents train for the spring’s Sask. Marathon half where they’re preparing to cruise along the Meewasin Valley where it all started 10 years ago.