When Geoff Gilfedder and Tania Harris showed up for Foster parkrun on the day of their wedding, they didn’t expect to give parkrun-styled vows.
The couple were married in Methven on that Saturday evening, but it was their weekly parkrun that set the tone for the day.
A group of parkrun secret squirrels had conspired to give the couple a memorable start to their special day.
Geoff and Tania had already volunteered to be parkwalkers, dressed in tutus to mark the 22nd of the month.
It was also Foster parkrun’s fourth birthday, which helped set the scene for a most colourful pre-wedding parkrun.
“We didn’t know anything about the parkrun ceremony,” Geoff says.
“We knew something was up but had no idea the level they went to until the day. I’d been at Broad Park the two previous weeks so they’d been able to get themselves organised.
“When we showed up we saw people dressed up, but that was no surprise.
“The briefing started and we went through the milestones and then they said we were having a wedding.
“We got called up and the run director, Noel Whiteside, started doing a parkrun wedding ceremony. It was amazing.”
The happy couple were asked to take one another as their parkrun husband and wife.
“Geoff, do you take Tania to be your parkrun wife and to promise to be her timekeeper, results processor and barcode scanner?” asked Noel.
“Tania, do you take Geoff to be your parkrun husband, to be his run director and to love him even when he gets too old and slow to win races?”
Geoff and Tania met online in 2019 and after one in-person date, Geoff, who was a Hagley parkrun regular, decided to surprise Tania by showing up at Foster parkrun one winter morning.
“Foster parkrun is very special to us, it’s what got the connection between us going,” he said.
“We both had a love of running, volunteering and being part of a community. It was a springboard for our relationship.”
After Geoff and Tania were “parkrun married” the walkers and runners were sent on their way to complete the 5km course around Foster Park.
“We parkwalked with the founding event director, Suzy Peterson, and towards the end she said we had to wait. We could see an archway being formed by all the other parkrunners.
“We walked through a guard of honour, people were cheering and taking photos.
“It was lovely. My family were all there, including my parents, brother and his family.
“We had our wedding at the Brinkley Resort and they were already staying there so they set off at 6.45am to make it to parkrun.
“After parkrun we went to the local Robert Harris Cafe as usual – our real wedding wasn’t until 6pm – but the parkrun wedding really set the tone for the whole day.”
And as for the chicken suits worn by the parkrun best men?
Geoff says they were in honour of their pet chickens.
“I do a lot of snapchatting of my chickens and we had a photo of them at our wedding as we couldn’t take them with us.”
Congratulations Geoff and Tania, here’s to many milestones together.
Click here to watch the parkrun-style wedding ceremony on Foster parkrun’s Facebook page.
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