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September 1, 2010

Triathlon Nuptials for Trading Pros

By James Ramage

The engagement may have been short, but the road to the altar for two trading industry pros was a long and arduous one--140.6 miles, to be exact.

Melissa Moo and Bryan Harkins

Bryan Harkins of Direct Edge and Melissa Moo of Weeden & Co. tied the knot near the finish line after completing an all-day Ironman triathlon on July 25 in Lake Placid, N.Y.

The question that any trader--in or out of shape--might ask: Why?

"We wanted to do something different, something that really meant a lot to us as a couple," Harkins said. "It's a lot of preparation. We trained mostly side by side together for seven months-six days a week. So, what better way to prepare for a wedding than to train together and to look forward to a common goal?"

Strange as it may seem, a wedding immediately following an Ironman isn't unique. In the 18 months she's been a spokesperson for the World Triathlon Corp., the Ironman World Headquarters, Catie Case has already witnessed one other wedding following a race. Proposals are more common, though, she said.

"It's pretty rare, and definitely not traditional," Case said. "It's about someone joining one of their big interests--triathlons--with a really joyous event."

For Harkins and Moo, the ceremony marked the end of a long day's odyssey that began for both at 7 a.m. on the shoreline of Mirror Lake. There, the couple joined 3,000 other athletes in a 2.4-mile swim--the first leg of the Ford Ironman Lake Placid.

After finishing the swim, Harkins and Moo pulled themselves from the water and mounted bikes. Dripping wet, they slogged through a 112-mile course, weaving along state, county and local roads. A downpour lashed at the riders during the first 20 miles of the bike leg.

When they finished the stage, Harkins and Moo dumped their bikes and ran a full marathon. Their course rambled through tree-lined streets with views of the lake and the Olympic ski jump.

Moo stepped over the finish line wearing her veil and holding a bouquet of flowers. Her family and friends greeted her. Harkins had finished before her. Soon afterward, Pastor Derek Spain of the Lake Placid Baptist Church administered the vows under a full moon, a short distance from the finish line.

When it ended, were they ready to keel over? Not really. Harkins and Moo each said the energy and exhilaration eclipsed any feelings of pain or exhaustion they had. Both expected this, he said, given their training. "I felt a burst of energy from our families, who were dancing around at the finish line," Moo said.

"While you are tired after the race, you are actually OK," Harkins added. "Your body is used to the long grinds."

The Ironman took Harkins 11 hours, three minutes and 32 seconds to complete. Moo's race spanned 13 hours and 48 minutes. Spain's scripture reading took 15 minutes. The couple listened wearing warm-up clothes over their drenched tri-gear.

"For the ceremony itself, I was certainly euphoric ... the best moment in my life condensed into 15 minutes," Harkins said.

The wedding-day event wasn't the couple's first Ironman together. They also completed the Ironman Lake Placid in 2008.

The two met in October 2005 at the Security Traders Association's annual conference in Boca Raton, Fla. They got engaged last September.

"Everyone in the business I run into thinks we're crazy for combining two such huge events into one day," Harkins said. "This was our vision of a perfect day."

 

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