For Maggie Crotty and Matt Anderson, triathlons are something they can do together, a way to make friends, stay fit and satisfy their competitive spirits (even their Yahtzee games at their favorite brew pubs, they confess, are a cause for competition).
This is serious stuff: They’ve done marathons and half-marathons together, and last year they did the Florida Ironman in a little more than 14 hours — a 2.4-mile swim and 112-mile bike ride, topped off by a full 26.2-mile marathon.
So on Saturday, the morning of their big wedding day, before the photos, the vows, the reception, it kind of made sense to do yet another triathlon together.
They hadn’t planned a triathlon for their wedding, but when they set the date they later realized they’d already signed up for the race. So why not do both, wedding and race?
For the race, she wore white, and her cap said “bride.” He wore black, and his cap said “groom.” She had red roses, and the race director gave them a bottle of bubbly.
“All our triathlon friends think it’s the best thing ever,” Crotty said. “Our friends who are not involved in triathlons think we’re crazy.”
Compared to the Ironman, this race — the Jacksonville Sprint Triathlon in Fernandina Beach — was an easy jaunt: A quarter-mile swim, 16 miles on a bike, 3 miles running.
There would be plenty of time to drive home to the Southside, then get ready for the 6:15 p.m. wedding at the downtown Main Library.
After all, Anderson figured, it would take him just 20 minutes, tops, to be presentable. She, with the hair and the makeup and dress, would take considerably longer, he conceded.
Crotty didn’t stress about it. “I didn’t have to start getting ready until about noon, so it works out perfectly,” she said.
She’s 30, a health care recruiter. He’s 31, and works in the banking industry.
Their wedding had a triathlon theme. The invitations had bicycles on them, and a bicycle decoration sat atop their wedding cake. Some of the guests are triathletes. Even the ceremony officiant, Circuit Court Judge Linda McCallum, is a triathlete who did the race that morning as well.
Late Saturday afternoon, the bride and groom arrived at the library to pose for photos — in formal wedding attire this time — and attend to last-minute details.
It turns out, they said, that it was indeed a good idea to race the day of their wedding; Crotty said it helped her get over any wedding jitters.
Then there was this: “The hardest thing I had to do today was over by 9:30 this morning,” she said. “This part’s easy.”
Matt Soergel: (904) 359-4082