A triathlon typically involves three consecutive events – swimming, biking and running. A Grand Rapids couple decided to add a fourth event to a triathlon they recently competed in.
Shannon Wright, 38, and Kevin Collins, 46, met seven years ago at Michigan Athletic Club in Grand Rapids. Kevin was Shannon’s personal trainer and helped her prepare for endurance events.
The two eventually became close friends, then more than friends.
“We are constantly competing together,” said Wright. “Once we got engaged, we thought the best place to get married would be while doing what we both love doing the most - triathlons.”
The couple contacted the organizers of the Grand Rapids Triathlon to see if they could arrange for a wedding ceremony to take place along the course.
“They were outstanding in helping coordinate this for us,” said Collins.
Shannon and Kevin arrived in Ada for the triathlon early in the morning on Sunday, June 11. The first leg of the triathlon was swimming. Once they both completed that, it was time to transition to the next event, which was bicycling.
However, the couple had a more important event to attend first.
“There was a park near where we finished swimming, so Kevin and I slipped over into the park where we saw all of our friends and family waiting for us.
The two had special triathlon suits made for their special day. Kevin’s suit was a tuxedo and Shannon’s suit was a wedding gown.
The marriage was performed by Joe Gassmann, (Producer Joe) from the “Free Beer and Hot Wings” radio program.
“Joe got ordained just to perform our wedding,” said Wright.
The witnesses gathered around as the ceremony began. Vows and rings were exchanged, the two shared a kiss, and were declared husband and wife.
“This was a perfect fit for us,” said Collins. “A no-brainer, really, when you consider we both live for endurance races.
“This was the perfect place for us to get married.”
The marriage didn’t end with your typical receiving line, bouquet and/or garter toss, smashing cake into each other’s faces or a slow dance.
Instead, the newlyweds had a triathlon to finish.
“When the wedding ended, Kevin and I hopped on our bikes and had to ride 12.4 miles, then when that event finished, we transition to the run, which was another 3.1 miles,” said Wright.
The newlyweds crossed the finish line in one hour, 50 minutes and 55 seconds, which was 382nd and 383rd overall.
“We love each other, and we both love endurance racing, so we couldn’t think of a better way for us to get married,” added Collins.
The couple is now on their honeymoon, but it’s not a traditional honeymoon. Shannon and Kevin drove to Milwaukee, Wisconsin where they will be competing in the “2017 Tour of America’s Dairyland” which is 11 straight days of grueling endurance racing.
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