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

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Why not do both. We can fit both in in one day. – Shannon Beasley

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.

"I am not concerned with my time and trying to get a good time that I am willing to sacrifice my body," she said.

Both finished the race injury free and ready to move on to the main event.

"It was a great way to start off the day. It was also a good diversion," Beasley said. "We didn't have a whole lot of stress for the actual wedding because we were focused on this this morning," she said Saturday afternoon.

The couple met over three years ago, but did not start seriously dating until after Christmas 2011. She was a widow with children and he a bit younger. And by Valentines Day they were a couple with engagement soon to follow.

"I knew that I wanted to marry her, I just didn’t know how to ask," Colby Beal said.

He recruited Beasley's three children, who one day held up signs with a simple message: "Marry Colby" it said, with Beasley's 3-year-old daughter holding an exclamation point.

So now one race is done and another begins.

"It just feels right this time around. We have both dated a ton of people and every single time you say I should love them for this reason or that reason, I should be more into this because everything I want is there," Beasley said.

"With dating Colby there's tons of reasons why it shouldn't be right, but it just feels good and that is very reassuring and the fact that I have zero desire to keep looking is a huge reassurance as well."

The couple plan soon to move to Las Vegas, where Beal will begin medical studies at Touro University Nevada. But first there's a meal to pay for, for crossing that finish line together with his bride, instead of ahead of his brother and the others.

"Now he has to buy sushi," Beasley said. "But that's OK, it was worth it."

Contributing: Jeff Finley

E-mail: jreyes@desnews.com

Twitter: @_JulianReyes_