A wedding should reflect the style and personalities of the bride and groom in some way. For Stephanie Reinhart and Mark Jockel, that meant embracing their favorite pastime — running.
Reinhart, 35, and Jockel, 46, actually met while training for different marathons back in 2013. She was planning to run in the Chicago Marathon, while he was training for the Marine Corps Marathon. However, they both joined Chicago Area Running Association’s 8:00/mile pace group at the same time, and let’s just say their heart rates rose without having to take a step.
Two years later, they were ready to wed, but like most couples, they were at odds about what sort of wedding they wanted. Reinhart wanted to keep things simple. She wanted a “short and sweet” ceremony without much fuss, whereas her fiancé had his heart set on a big wedding surrounded by many friends and family. With such opposing ideas, you might be wondering how these two came to compromise on one wedding concept. Well, in the end, the answer was simple — they just looked to the thing that brought them together in the first place.
And just like that, they decided they’d get married at the Chicago Marathon. Well, to be more specific, they planned for the ceremony to take place mid-race at the 8-mile mark. Of course they chose that particular marker because they first met in the 8:00/mile pace group. While it seems like the perfect arrangement, Jockel didn’t jump on board right away. “It took me a day or two to come around to the idea,” he told People magazine. “But everyone I talked to about it was like, ‘That’s the most incredible thing I’ve ever heard. You’ve got to do it.'”
So this past Sunday, the couple started the race with everyone else, but stopped briefly just shy of mile 8 for their short and sweet wedding ceremony surrounded by close friends, family and 40,000 excited strangers. “We invited guests from all over,” Jockel said. “Washington state, Colorado, out east and everybody made it. No one turned us down.” The night before, the couple had a rehearsal dinner filled with pasta, so any fellow racers could get their complex carbs before the race.
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