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A love story: Triathlon first, then wedding marks couple's lifelong race together

Published: Saturday, June 9 2012 8:07 p.m. MDT

Colby Beal and Shannon Beasley cross the finish line of the Daybreak Triathlon in South Jordan on Saturday, June 9, 2012. The couple was also getting married later on that night. Crossing the finish line with Beal and Beasley is Beasley's sons, Sam, 10 and Jackson,7.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

HIGHLAND — For a bride on her wedding day the morning is usually reserved for personal wedding preparations, getting hair beautifully coiffed and perfect makeup in place in anticipation of that trip to the altar.

But for Shannon Beasley, 35, Saturday morning began well before 6 a.m. as she joined her fiance, Colby Louis Beal, 25, for stretching and warm-up in anticipation of the open water swim, bike leg and finishing run. Makeup was replaced by beads of sweat as the pair took part in the 4th annual Daybreak Triathlon.

"It's crazy, it is definitely crazy, it may have been a bad idea," said Beasley a few days before the triathlon and wedding ceremony.

Together with close friends and family from the wedding party, the couple embarked on a 750 meter sprint swim, the 23.5K bike race and the 5K finish to the triathlon, all before the planned ceremony in the American Fork Amphitheater Saturday.

They're not pros. This was the pair's first-ever triathlon.

So why marry the two big events?

The whole thing began with a bet started by the groom's older brother, Jesse, back when Colby and Shannon were just dating. The brothers wanted to get in shape. Friends joined in and the triathlon became the focus of the training.

The key was the bet: Loser buys sushi for everyone, Colby Beal said.

While the brothers were training for the competition, the happy couple became the happy engaged couple.

"I figured he was going to bail out (of the triathlon) because of the wedding," said the groom's older brother.

But the soon-to-be bride didn't want to interfere with the race.  In fact, when the bet was struck she was of a mind to take part: "I heard about the bet and I thought it was a great idea, but at the time we were just dating," she said. "I didn't want to jump in (to the triathlon) and invite myself in to the party."

The brothers didn't mind and she was soon signed up and training.

"When we were looking at weekends — which weekend would work to get married— it kind of was the day (the day of the triathlon) that made the most sense," Beasley said. "So, we were talking about axing the triathlon," she said.

Beal's friends certainly expected that. Of course he would nix the triathlon in favor of the bigger event, thus losing the bet and be stuck footing the bill for sushi for the remaining competitors.

Not so fast.

"Why not do both," the bride recalled. "We can fit both in in one day."

Beasley, the bride, trained for two months and had run a marathon in the past.

As for the groom?

"I don't like running and I am not a good swimmer and I don’t even own a bike," he said.  "So, I don’t know why I decided to do it."

The morning arrived and bride and groom showed up in traditional garb, sort of:

He wore a black tuxedo T-shirt with black running shorts. Beasley sported a white shirt and a white running skirt bedazzled with stones, and a veil that blew freely behind her as she and her soon-to-be husband crossed the finish line together.

"We weren't planning on staying together the whole time," Beasley said, "but he actually stayed back with me and finished the race with me instead of competing with the guys he was going to compete with, and win the bet."

The bride said she wasn't willing to sacrifice her wedding day for the sake of a good time.

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