Skip to main content
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
Enjoy unlimited digital access
per week
for 24 weeks
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Anthony Johnson and James Makokas

Courtesy of Lana Whiskeyjack

Who: James Makokis, 35, family physician. Anthony Johnson, 32, artist.

Relationship status: Married since May.

Location: Spruce Grove, Alta.

Story continues below advertisement

How they met

Anthony: A couple of years ago I was living in Brooklyn and seeking some guidance on my role in a ceremonial Indigenous community. I joined a Facebook group on the subject of two-spiritedness, which is a way for Indigenous people to identify themselves as GLBTQ. Someone posted an article from Out magazine and James was the centrefold.

He was also the only person in the article who used his actual name, so I reached out. It was completely from the perspective of wanting to talk to someone who could answer my questions about culture and gender and identity. James is so accomplished and good-looking, I assumed he was in a relationship.

James: So he says. I was in Australia doing a book launch because I had written a chapter in a book about Indigenous physicians. After I got Anthony's message I googled him a little bit and thought, "Wow, he's really cute. Wow, he went to Harvard." From there we agreed to "meet" on FaceTime. I was on the beach. We talked for three hours until my phone died.

The couple that trains together

James: I have been doing marathons since 2004. I'd always dreamed that the person I would end up with would enjoy running.

Anthony: I'm a natural couch potato, so there was definitely some resistance early on. In January we started training for the Vancouver Marathon. It was getting dark at 4:30, so we would end up running under the stars.

Story continues below advertisement

James: We would always end up having these really great talks.

Anthony: When we decided to get married, James was okay with going to City Hall, but I wanted to do something more significant. At one point we thought about eloping to Vegas, but our families would have killed us. And then one night James said, what if we got married at the marathon? I contacted the organizers the next day.

Here run the grooms

James: On the day of the marathon they put us right up front with all of the elite runners. Everyone was cheering. We had no idea how many people had heard about our story until then.

Anthony: When we got to the beach where the ceremony took place, our sisters were both there to help us put on our jackets and some ceremonial jewellery. And to fix our hair and make sure we weren't sweating all over the place.

James: There were so many moving parts, with our family and friends in from out of town, the tepee that had to be set up that morning, and just the fact that this was Anthony's first marathon. I still can't believe everything came together so perfectly.

Story continues below advertisement

Anthony: The moment that sticks out most for me is when we arrived at the 14-km marker. In Cree culture, 14 is a significant number and when we got there there were literally 14 eagles flying around in the sky.

James: Our friends are already asking if we're going to do it again for our anniversary in May. Both of our moms are already in training to do it with us, so I guess we're doing it.

Interested in being featured in Match? Share your story at

What does multiculturalism mean to Canadians today? We ask Canadians and look into policies of the past. Featuring the music of Shad.
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to
Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons or for abuse. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies