Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Running couple marries amid Austin marathon

Pam LeBlanc
pleblanc@statesman.com
Austin's LiveStrong Marathon was already special for David Guzman and Amanda Kirschner — it was their first joint race — but it gained even more significance Sunday as the site of their wedding. The couple exchanged vows at mile 22.5.

They say the marathon changes you.

For Amanda Kirschner and David Guzman, at least, that's definitely true.

They started Sunday's LiveStrong Austin Marathon single, tied the knot at mile 22.5 and finished together as a married couple.

Afterward, they walked to Freebird's World Burrito for post-wedding burritos, chips and queso, then headed home to San Antonio for a small family celebration.

"I feel actually better now than at mile 22.5 because we're done," Kirschner, 28, said after crossing the finish line hand in hand with her new husband.

Onlookers cheered as the race announcer broke the good news.

Dress for the ceremony was casual. "Elastic waistbands only," Kirschner, a ninth-grade teacher, specified before the race.

She wore a white running skirt, a shirt that said "Bride" on the front and "Today is our wedding day" on the back, and a small veil over her ponytail. The groom wore a black T-shirt with a tuxedo printed on the front.

Marathon officials helped coordinate details, connecting Kirschner, 28, and Guzman, 30, with retired state District Judge Jon Wisser, a longtime runner.

High humidity, temperatures in the mid-70s, a brisk wind and a steady stream of hills early in the race took their toll. The two ran at a steady pace on their way to the wedding venue — a small tent set up at the corner of Guadalupe and 51st streets.

"We're struggling but still finding a way to enjoy it," Guzman said when they arrived.

About 15 guests gathered for the ceremony and post-wedding photos, which took less than 30 minutes.

"And may they run together, forever," Wisser, wearing his own half-marathon finisher's medal under a black robe, said as he closed the ceremony.

"Ouch, man. Painful," Kirschner said — about the run, not the wedding.

Wedding certificate signed, photos taken and race bibs decorated with a "Just Married" message pinned to their backsides, the husband and wife set out to cover the remaining 3.7 miles.

"We might be last," Kirschner said as they sprinted away. They crossed the finish line five hours and 23 minutes after they started.

"It was gorgeous," mother-of-the-bride Carol Hamilton said. "She chose the perfect man."

It was the couple's 10th marathon. They met when each had just one marathon under their belt.

The Austin race holds special significance: It was the first marathon they ran together.

"Neither of us wanted a big wedding," Kirschner said. "Running is a huge part of both or our lives. It just seemed really perfect for us. Running is such a glue."

Race officials said it was the first on-course wedding they knew of, although proposals have taken place along the route.

For Kirschner and Guzman, the real race has just started.

pleblanc@statesman.com; 445-3994