Baylor cross country’s Ryan, Ellie Hodge go the distance for love

Ellie and Ryan Hodge showing off their rings during a Baylor photo shoot. Photo courtesy of Ellie Hodge.

By Gio Gennero | Sports Writer

“We were Baylor teammates first, and now we’re teammates for the rest of our lives,” graduate student runner Ellie Hodge said. “It’s pretty cool.”

After transferring to Baylor in August 2021 for cross country, Ellie would soon realize bigger things were in store for her. Fast forward to present day: She and her teammate, graduate student runner Ryan Hodge, are now happily married.

“It was definitely cross country that brought us together,” Ellie said. “When you’re with each other every day, that definitely was helpful.”

What started as joint study sessions and group hangouts with the team quickly became more for the newlyweds. After going on a run, Ryan said Ellie reached out to him because she was running in the same area, and after that, things hit the ground running.

Baylor cross country runners Ryan and Ellie Hodge are teammates turned newlyweds. Photo courtesy of Ellie Hodge.
Baylor cross country runners Ryan and Ellie Hodge are teammates turned newlyweds. Photo courtesy of Ellie Hodge.

Staying true to Baylor tradition, Ryan was ready with a ring by spring and popped the question in early April. Ellie’s family was already going to be in town because they had a meet that day, and Ryan asked Ellie’s father for her hand the day before. Ryan said he had a friend set everything up for him beforehand at the same place he had asked Ellie to be his girlfriend, and he surprised her with a Bible, a written note and the ring laid out on a blanket.

“We went to Lake Waco, and I told Ellie we were going there for a friend’s surprise birthday party,” Ryan said. “She didn’t really buy it. I wasn’t nervous until we got there, then I was walking down there.”

Now married, Ryan said it has been a big transition, but at the same time, it hasn’t changed too much in terms of running and school. Ellie said it’s made things easier, because their schedules line up well and they have easily worked together on everything.

Since the two first paired up, they said their other teammates have been very supportive of them. After dates, they would each go and tell their respective teams about how it went and occasionally receive supportive teasing from the team. Teammates even made up all of Ryan’s groomsmen. Ellie said the majority of the team was able to make it out, and it was very sweet.

The couple agreed the best part of being married so far has been the time they get to spend together because of their similar schedules and responsibilities.

“The person you’re marrying is your best friend, getting to be with him all the time and getting to experience it all together,” Ellie said. “We get to share the passion of running together. I think it’s so special sharing that together and getting someone else’s perspective on the same situation.”

“I’ve been more motivated to do the little things, like stretching or doing extra core,” Ryan said. “I see her doing it, and it helps me for sure. We’re in a pretty awesome place. We get to be with each other throughout the whole day unless we have class. That’s been the best part, being able to spend so much time together.”