The Grand Rapids Triathlon is celebrating its 10th-anniversary event this year! Since it’s debut race in 2011, thousands of people have toed the start line near the Thornapple River to swim, bike and run the largest independent triathlon in the state of Michigan. Over the years, the GR Tri has seen it all, from hosting National Championships, to cheering on age-group PRs, to winning International recognition, to granting wishes with the Dream Team, to also a changing of the guard with new race ownership and direction. There has been countless support, incredible volunteers and staff, endless amounts of cheering from the local community, so many personal accomplishments achieved from participants and an abundance of memories that we can’t help but look back at some of our favorites!
Take a look back at some of the most memorable moments from over the years and throwback to those who were a part of our history as we look forward to welcoming those who will join and be a part of of it all this June 14!
#GRTri Throwback: Shannon and Kevin Collins get married during the race in 2017
What could be better than two triathletes meeting and falling in love? Deciding to honor that love along with their love of the sport by having their wedding DURING the race!
How did you both get involved in triathlon?
I (Shannon) had taken interest after started spinning at the MAC. The spin instructor at the time was Pam who was a triathlete and there were several triathletes in the class. I finally decided to go for it and when I did, Kevin was the new spin instructor there and he had also been thinking of doing a triathlon. Since he has been a cyclist his whole life, he helped me find a suitable bike to ride.
So your interest in the sport is also how you two met?
Yes, we became friends and a relationship developed from there. 🙂
What do you love about the GR Tri?
It is a very friendly and well-run race. We were both newbie triathletes in 2011 and even in that first year of the race, it was run smoothly and we had a great time.
What made you decide to get married at the race?
We are both avid racers and Kevin had the idea to get married at a race. My sister actually blurted out the idea of a triathlon and even though at the time we were more focused on road cycling races we took to the idea of a triathlon race right away. Since the GR Tri was kind of the race that brought us together in the first place, and it’s close to home, it made sense to do it there.
So tell us about your wedding day!
So after we contacted the race to get approval to do it, we started brainstorming. We thought it would be cool to start the race not married and end it as a married couple. So we decided to do the swim, right outside of T1, we did a quick ceremony and hopped on our bikes to do the bike portion. After that we finished the run and Kevin carried me across the finish line! It was soooo much fun! My family helped a lot with set up and making sure everyone was in the right place at the right time for the ceremony. Some of the fun details were our custom made tri kits made by our friends at Vie 13 Kustom. They made kits to resemble a wedding dress and tuxedo! I also added a veil to my bike helmet and a tool skirt to my race belt for the run. One of my favorite memories was when were running out of transition (T1) and Lori Ott was on the loud speaker yelling “ATTENTION EVERYONE! THERE’S ABOUT TO BE A WEDDING!” Then on the run we had so many people shouting congratulations, it felt so amazing and special!