Four Races and a Wedding

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Today, July 1st, 2023, I attended a wedding. Wearing my running gear. And running shoes. And no make-up. That’s my kind of wedding.

For the last 11 years, Silver Circle Sporting Events has hosted their Independence Day Trail Assail races, which feature a half marathon, 10K, 5K, and kids race. I have been running this event for at least half of those. You all know I love a good themed race and this is the only close-ish event which features a half marathon distance for the Fourth of July. Understandably, most 4th races keep the distances shorter since July in Chicago is normally hot, humid, and muggy.

But SCSE always makes multiple distances available for their events to meet the needs of all distance runners. This event took place in Fox River Park in Waukesha, Wisconsin. I had signed up long ago, and was excited to begin my holiday weekend with this event. However, I became even more excited when I received an email from the race yesterday notifying me of a wedding that would be taking place at 7:30 am, right before the start of the races.

I immediately emailed Sean Osborne, owner & Chief Cone Counter of SCSE to get the details of the big day. Not only would the wedding be taking place, but Sean would be the officiant! “The ceremony starts at 7:30 and it is very short. That will be followed by the kiddos run at 7:45 and an 8:00 start for others,” noted Osborne.

This was Sean’s first ceremony and he knocked it out of the park, literally, as he married the couple just minutes before the race kicked off. His remarks were all running related and personalized to the couple, as he urged the groom to “kiss the bride, but not for too long as we had a race to run!”

The bride and groom, Jen and Dan met seven years ago and both work for Silver Circle Sporting Events. “I started with SCSE in 2016 as a Timer, but I’ve also been a Proofreader/Editor and Project Manager/Race Director for the 2021 Beer Garden 5K Series,” stated Jen.

“Dan started not long after me because he was curious what I did on the weekends and made the mistake of coming with me one day, so we put him to work! He started out as a Volunteer/Runner, helping on the Equipment team in exchange for free races, but now spends most of his time as a paid Course Manager. He also helped with Project Management for the 2021 Beer Garden 5K Series.”

When asked about the rationale behind July 1, 2023 and this particular race as their wedding venue, Jen replied: “Honestly, there was a much simpler thought process behind it than people think! We knew what date we wanted, we happened to know where we could find a legally ordained officiant that day who also wasn’t a random person we’d never met, and we thought this would be the most low-key wedding we could possibly plan.”

The bride and groom are both runners and take things in stride, so an over-the-top wedding would not have fit their personalities. Just by the nature of their jobs, it’s easy to see that both Jen and Dan like to be in the background supporting people and helping them to reach their goals. “We’re much more comfortable being the people supporting the events than we are with BEING the event.” So, a big wedding with hundreds of guests and a year’s worth of planning just didn’t make sense for the couple.

But, this morning they allowed us to be a part of a huge moment in their lives, as they exchanged vows at the start line. It was such a fun way to start the morning and wouldn’t have been complete without their dog as a member of the wedding party.

Donned in running gear and shoes, the couple looked completely comfortable and relaxed…the exact opposite of how most brides and grooms look. “We’re completely aware of where we’re getting married, so we’re staying ultra casual,” stated Jen. Dan sported an amazing tuxedo tank and Jen wore a t-shirt from Jordyn’s Summer Shirt Project.

“If you haven’t heard of Jordyn’s Summer Shirt Project- is a really cool company started in 2018 to help teach Jordyn (then an 18 year old girl, who has autism) job skills. The shirt says “Be Kind to Everyone” and features Jordyn’s signature. We have no connection to Jordyn, nor her family, but it’s a message I can fully get behind and a “designer” I’m happy to support on our wedding day!”

When asked if Sean would be up for officiating other weddings before SCSE events, he stated “Absolutely.” So, if you’re looking to get hitched this year in an outdoor ceremony, with an amazing photographer, you have until Last Call, which is scheduled for the first weekend of December!

Following the brief ceremony, SCSE hosted their free kiddos run and then all distances began at 8am sharp. It was hot and muggy, but much of the course was tree lined through the trail systems at the Waukesha County Park. All runners followed the 5K loop which wove through the trail system, shooting runners out onto pavement and sidewalks here and there. There were hills, but nothing highly technical. Half marathon runners had a short out and back after the loop that circled behind the trail system to a neighborhood area. The 10K runners looped twice and the half marathon runners looped three times.

As with all SCSE events, the race was well organized, course was clearly marked, and a wide variety of distances allowed everyone to run. It was hot and the hills were definitely tough, but it was a good, hard work out to start the holiday weekend. Congrats to Jen and Dan and thank you for allowing us to join in your big day!

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Mandi has been running for over 25 years and has participated in the Chicago, Detroit, and Boston Marathons. Mandi regularly competes in regional events and enjoys being a part of several running groups including CARA and the Badgerland Striders. She is a co-host on the Ten Junk Miles podcast and looks forward to hosting the Chicago Athlete Podcast. An RRCA certified coach and Les Mills certified instructor, Mandi is also a coach with Chicago Athlete Coaching. Mandi is a local government attorney by weekday and race warrior by weekend.

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