In it for the long run

MANKATO – Rachel Nachreiner and Steve Page crossed the finish line of the Mankato Half Marathon side by side and hand in hand on Sunday. Then, after a short break to catch their breath, they started off on the long run of their lives, saying their wedding vows in front of family, friends and fellow runners.

It was, they said, the perfect ceremony to symbolize their relationship.

The Courtland couple met through mutual friends three years ago, and found they had a mutual interest in fitness and running. They became exercise buddies, running and working out together, recreationally at first, but more recently entering some 5K and 10K road races together. In September they ran their first half marathon in St. Cloud.

Rachel came up with the idea of getting married at the Mankato Marathon.

“It seemed like a good example of us and our relationship,” Rachel said.

Steve said the couple had considered a destination wedding somewhere, but then Rachel came up with the post-marathon idea.

He said it sets a good tone for their married life ahead, “encouraging each other, motivating each other and helping each other over the gruelling parts,” he said.

It was a good way to involve their family as well. Each has two children, and three of them, Athena, Holly and Corbin, joined in with their parents on the final mile of the run, along with Emily’s dad, Mike Nachreiner. Little brother Logan, three, waited at the finish line with his grandmother, Beverly Nachreiner. Rachel’s sister Emily Nachreiner ran the half marathon with them, carrying their rings.

Rachel donned a wedding veil for the last mile or so, drawing cheers from the crowd as they neared the finish line.

Judge Krista Jass performed the ceremony on a stage at the finish line, near the Mankato civic center. Still wearing their running clothes, they exchanged rings, kissed and headed off for a private reception with their family.

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