By RJ Walters / For the Jackson Citizen Patriot
Mark and Mistique Ott’s first full day of marriage began with a gunshot and the groom running from the bride — exactly how they envisioned it.
The Jackson couple were married on The Falling Waters Trail at 6 a.m. Friday and by 8:45 a.m. Saturday they were crossing the finish line of the Concord Classic 5k Run/Walk together donning “Just Married” shirts.
After Mark finished the run in 18 minutes, 46 seconds, he finished out the walk with Mistique, and the duo celebrated their new life together just how it started a year-and-a-half ago.
“(On our first date) we actually went up to Flushing, and I did a half-marathon run and she did a 5k walk,” Mark said. “We’ve now done this four or five times.”
The 37-year-old said that when they decided on a June 25 wedding, he knew there was a race the next day. His 38-year-old partner-to-be agreed to get up early for the festivities.
What Mark didn’t know is that Mistique had something special prepared for him once he crossed the finish line. Instead of the standard participation medals handed out to each runner, race director David Jordon helped her get the medals engraved with a special message for her love: “Slow or fast, always together.”
Mistique said Jordon was helpful in setting the whole thing up and it provided a memorable moment for Mark.
“I was totally surprised,” he said. “And I thought it was just sweet and it was totally her idea.”
Now the couple is off to Saugatuck for their honeymoon, where Mistique said they are “excited to relax and just hang out at the bed and breakfast.”
There were plenty of other participants with reasons to celebrate Saturday, including August Pappas and Kristina Olsen, the overall male and female winners in the 5k runs.
Pappas, who will be a senior at Chelsea High School next year, ran a personal best of 15:15, 31 seconds ahead of runner-up Mike Cole of Corruna.
“My coach does a really good job of getting us out to races because he just wants us to stay in race shape over the summer and this is one I could go to,” he said. “It was my goal to come here and set a PR, but I didn’t expect it.”
Olsen is a Jackson High School graduate who recently graduated from the University of Alabama-Birmingham but has one more season of eligibility for the track team when she returns to pursue a master’s degree in the fall.
Her time of 17:27.5 was a women’s course record and more than a minute better than second-place Lindsey Burdette of Horton (18:34)
“The first mile there was another girl up with me so that helped, and my dad helped pace me for two miles and then left the last one up to me,” she said.
David Swarts of Jackson and Robin Brigham of Concord were victorious in the men’s and women’s 5k walks.