Today’s Real Wedding is a special one as it is not your “Traditional Wedding” it is a Marathon Wedding. We featured Jackie and Duncan on our blog on the lead up to their wedding, as they had decided to get hitched early in the morning, BEFORE running the London Marathon. Jackie is such an inspiring lady and I feel honoured to share her wedding story with you!
What was the first thought when you woke on your wedding day?!
Is it really 5am and am I really thinking about Vaseline, chafing and fuelling more than having a relaxing morning before walking down the aisle? It is fair to say that there was nothing traditional about it. Brilliant fun though.
How did the dress feel on Marathon day? What did you wear to your Wedding Party?
The dress was better than I ever imagined. Designed by professional ice skater Frankie Seaman, it was both beautiful and practical (no chafing here and in fact less than when I wear normal running gear). I confess when we started out on our marathon wedding adventure, I never thought I would end up getting a wedding dress and I never thought I would be a bride in the true sense of the word. But, a chance shopping trip with a friend led me to fall in love with one (and the rest is history). I wore the actual wedding dress for a party a week later and Frankie actually modelled the running equivalent on it, which was brilliant. Duncan had no idea and when he saw me in my wedding dress on the night of the party for the big reveal, he said: ‘but I thought you loved navy!’
The other amazing part of the wedding outfit was the jelly baby bouquet. I apologise now to florists across the world, but the thought of sticking sweets in an oasis with florist wire, caught the attention of more than a few brides on social media and I think my plans may have been altered as a result. It was made for me by a beautiful friend and I was so grateful to her for her kindness.
Where did you get married?
We got married on the Cutty Sark ship at about 7.15am in the morning. It was such a great morning. Our neighbours played the role of chauffeur and dressed up their Renault Scenic with flowers and bows for its one-time role as a wedding car. It was an amazing morning, but it did look a little like sports day rather than a wedding. Everyone was in charity T-shirts, hoodies and lycra – including the photographer.
Photo: Natasha Hurley
What did you do between I do and running a marathon?
The experience was so surreal. I remember feeling elated that we had just got married and then totally terrified at the prospect of running a marathon (particularly as every step was painful due to injury). There really was little time to think though. With press cameras, a quick diversion to see Gabby Logan for a BBC interview on the Greenwich Park bandstand and some rather weird staged kissing in front of a wall of cameras, we barely got time to eat a banana and go to the loo. Not quite the pre-race preparation we had planned and I certainly didn’t look very bride like in my running jacket scoffing peanut butter sandwiches!
Describe the feeling of running a marathon with your new Husband!
Well, we didn’t exactly run it together (which surprises most people). My gift to Duncan for going along with my rather bizarre plan was that he could run the race at his own pace. That meant 3 hours 27 mins. I was a ‘little’ slower (and injured) so staggered over the line at 5 hours and 56 mins with my hip full of metal! I actually ran the race with my dad who, with his hip replacement, was an incredible and selfless companion. He did it just to get me around and that is a debt I will never be able to repay.
It was such a humbling experience. People knew who we were and cheered, runners congratulated us (and often thought dad was the groom) and supporters were so generous with their words, messages and jelly babies (the bouquet was a bit heavy and ended up in the bag drop, so we were in need of extra sweets). We basically spent six hours saying thank you.
Duncan, meanwhile, was being held at the end with a minder so that he could be reunited with me in his sweaty T-shirt 1.5 hours later. Not quite what you’d expect for the first few hours of marriage.
Photo: Virgin Money London Marathon
How much money did you raise and who for?
With gift aid, we are now over £29k. We are so so grateful to everyone who donated and helped us nearly double our target. If you’d like to help us tip 30K, you can still donate here!!!!
We are raising money for Willow and Breast Cancer Care. Both charities helped us celebrate our engagement at a time that could have ripped us apart. Willow is the only charity to give seriously-ill young adults the chance to have a special day away from the hospitals and the drugs. We went on the Orient Express and were reminded of the fact that while hospitals are an important part of the fight, so too is the chance to think about what you’re fighting for.
Your wedding party was a week later. How did you plan for it and who helped create your vision on the boat?
We thought we’d be a little sweaty and tired after the run to start celebrating with guests, so ended up back on the Cutty Sark a week later for the reception part. It was such a beautiful evening, which meant we could have drinks on the top deck before partying the night away under the ship. The great thing about the Cutty Sark is that the ship has become stronger and more interesting as a result of all the things that haven’t gone well in its life. It’s a message Duncan and I understand all too well (after I was diagnosed with cancer just three weeks after he proposed) and one that made partying on the ship even more special. We even got to include the one wedding tradition I didn’t want to miss. I made the cake!
Where was your honeymoon?
People expected us to go somewhere and relax on the beach. But, we wanted our honeymoon to continue offering a message of hope to those less fortunate than us and trying, like we were just three years ago, to get through tough times. So we trekked the Great Wall of China. The views, the fellow trekkers and those vertical drops, will stay with me forever. A truly unforgettable way to start married life.
What is your next adventure as husband and wife?
Well, Duncan is getting a free pass for a while after his epic efforts. As for me, Frankie asked me if I would trash her running wedding dress as a fitting way to end the story. I think she imagined me walking into a warm sea somewhere for a romantic moment. Not so. In September, I will be swimming 6 miles in the Serpentine to give the dress the send-off it deserves. I hope it will be enough to take us over the £30k mark.
What is your advice to couples planning a slightly alternative wedding day?
Just do it. The best weddings are those that reflect your personality. When you start planning, think about the story of the day you will want to remember together every time the date comes around each year. Our big day will be forever associated with the greatest running race on the planet (and one that raises more money for charity than any other) and that fact makes me smile. We got married and we made every step meaningful. We couldn’t have asked for more.
Anyone else you want to say thanks to?
We have so many people to thank for making our wedding adventure so special. From Pret, our families, and McMullens brewery to our brilliant caterers Suzanne James, the incredible Cutty Sark (ship and team) and everyone in between, we have been so so lucky and supported. We couldn’t possibly list out all the kind gestures that fill our hearts to this day. But, we have designed and written postcards for everyone who has touched our lives and who made our wedding possible and we will be sending them out for a good while yet! Thank you for Paperless Wedding too for your support and brilliant planning platform. You helped make our wedding even more memorable.
Thank you for letting us be part of your wedding story. We wish you both a lifetime of happiness and adventures.
Good luck for the Serpentine swim. We can’t wait to see the ‘trash’ the dress photo post swim!
Hear Jackie’s interview on Radio 5 live talking to Adrian Chiles.
Read her Huffington Post page – Why I’m Spending My Wedding Day Running A Marathon And My Honeymoon Trekking For Charity
Follow Jackie on Twitter
Read her blog – This day forward
Here are some other great articles that covered their special day!
Breast cancer survivor gets married seconds before running …
A breast cancer survivor kicked off the London Marathon by getting married at Greenwich’s Cutty Sark, and then began the race in her wedding dress. Jackie Scully, 35 …
Why This Woman Ran The London Marathon In Her Wedding Dress