Runners Start New Life Journey After Finishing Half Marathon

Sunday, May 1st 2011, 1:20 pm
By: News 9

Jacqueline Sit, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Despite the less than ideal conditions, nearly 25,000 11th Annual Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon runners flooded metro streets on Sunday. One couple even picked the event to tie the knot on the race course.

The Memorial marathon honors the memory of those who were killed in the Oklahoma City bombing on April, 1995.

Some ran to remember those lives lost in the 1995 bombing, while others ran to never forget and move forward.

But for Joel Rogalsky and Amy Wills Sunday's run was a celebration of life.

"Our getting married is not meant to be disrespectful or dishonor the memory of that," Rogalsky said.

The couple met at a marathon in Arkansas two years ago, and they ran a 50k trail run on their first date.

"And about 6 miles into that, he fell and twisted his ankle and then stuck with me through the rest of the race though the broken, fractured ankle," Wills said.

And Rogalsky has stood by his bride-to-be's side since. So came the idea to get hitched at the race, halfway through their half marathon.

The bride was dressed in white from head to toe with a homemade wedding veil. Her maid of honor and bridesmaid were pretty in pink. The best man and the groom both wore tuxedo shirts.

"Clearly if you're going to do a marathon wedding, the tuxedo shirt is a must," Wills said.

"And the most obnoxious color has to go to an obnoxious groom," Rogalsky said.

With their family watching in the rain, the wedding ceremony took place on the steps of their family's home.

Starting down a road together is rarely quite so literal, but as the marathoners finish the rest of the race, they're starting a journey together.

"It commemorates life. It commemorates loved ones, and we're just thankful to be able to be a part of that in the celebration of the life that goes on," Wills said.

The 11th Annual Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon celebrations kicked off at 5:30 a.m. with a Sunrise Service at the Survivor Tree and a start at 6th and Harvey. Participants could choose from routes that ranged from 5K to a full marathon. All races were delayed until 7 a.m. due to lightning.

Other events included the National Anthem performed by Yukon High School Men's Quartet and a post-race concert featuring Graham Colton.

The Oklahoma City National Memorial Foundation is the sole beneficiary of Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon event proceeds. The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon has contributed $2.2 million dollars to the Memorial since its inception.

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