Late last fall, MRG published an interview with a couple that got engaged at the dunk wall at the Spartan Race West Virginia Beast in 2019. The couple eagerly partnered with Spartan Race for a very special wedding heat at the Charlotte event in early April of this year. As we may recall, this event, along with many others, was forced to cancel due to COVID-19. The couple faced challenges not only from a full-fledged pandemic but from Mother Nature as well while re-imagining their perfect day. I can happily report that the couple pulled off a hell of a ceremony despite all the obstacles. And because I am a glutton for good news, I caught back up with John and Rachel after they’d had some time to enjoy a couple of months of married bliss.
HG: Congrats again on an absolutely amazing day! Before we dig into the goods, let’s tell our readers about the original plan.
Wolf: Well our original plan was to be Spartan's first-ever wedding heat. Our heat was set to go run the Charlotte Sprint on April 4 at 12:30. With us, all of our family and friends dressed in wedding attire would start the race all together conquering the obstacles until we reached the dunk wall. At the dunk wall, we were supposed to have a small ceremony spot set up where we would get married. After saying our vows we would have jumped into the muddy pit of the dunk wall, went under the wall, and would seal our vows with a muddy kiss. Then we would continue running to finish the course. It would have been the biggest and most important race of our lives!
HG: Planning a traditional ceremony can be tough enough, so I can’t imagine getting the news that Spartan had to cancel. Tell me your reactions and feelings upon receiving that information.
Wolf: A lot of planning had gone into the [original] race. Come early March when all the talk started about the Coronavirus we started to worry. We had family and friends coming from all over. My (Rachel’s) dad’s health was at the top of our minds. His health took a turn for the worse in earlier February. He had been holding on for our wedding. So when Spartan called us one late Friday afternoon–we were told we were some of the first to know and that they had not announced it yet–but they were having to cancel the Charlotte race due to COVID-19. We were devastated.
We wanted our wedding to be unique and be something we enjoyed to show our love for one another doing something we loved to do together. So we Immediately came up with a plan B, to still have the wedding on April 4th, but we will just have it on our land. So we had less than 4 weeks to get everything in place. The next two days were non stop moving, John working on the land and course, while I worked on logistics. Come Sunday afternoon, news on a travel ban and shutdowns started to come out. We talked to our daughter-in-law, who is a nurse in Dallas, and she advised us she was under strict travel restrictions and would not be allowed to travel out of state. Not knowing how things were going to be in 4 weeks, we decided to postpone the wedding.
Over the next couple of months, we were going back and forth on what we should do with my father’s health declining. He was holding on for the wedding and would just keep telling us, “You guys just go to the justice of the peace, and then we will all just go to dinner.” I was his only daughter left to walk down the aisle. We knew that we wanted our parents and kids there whenever we decide to say our “I dos.”
HG: As an invitee, I watched the event evolve continuously via the Facebook group page. On top of Spartan canceling events, a monster storm ripped through your facility near Nashville, Tennessee. Tell readers about the process that got you to the final plan to have it early this month at your facility.
Wolf: On May 9th, while cleaning up down trees on our property from a bad storm, I received a text message from our daughter-in-law that her travel ban were going to be lifted May 18th. I immediately went over to John and told him. We looked at each other and just said we’ve got to do this fast if we want our loved ones here with us. We wanted to make sure we could get it done before another lockdown came in place. I took out my phone looked at the calendar and we were like “6/6/2020 it is!”
We had a couple of guys over helping us clean up the storm damage. From the storm we had three big trees down, half the barn roof gone, totaled out the truck, another shed damaged, and other damage around the property. We had four weeks, to clean up, rebuild, plan, and set up for our wedding. We decided it would still include an OCR run, Wolfpak style! We busted our butts the following weeks. It was decided we would get married on the 12′ high platform [then] zip line down and start the run. We utilized all of our downed trees and made them into our centerpieces and other décor for the wedding. We saw all of this as life just threw more obstacles in the way for us to overcome to have our perfect wedding!
HG: As a guest, I have to say that the mini-race following the ceremony was BY FAR the best cocktail hour I’ve ever experienced at a wedding. Plus, how many people outside of this get to say they have played on rigs in a dress?! Describe how it felt to take your first steps together as man and wife in racing shoes while your guests chased after you.
Wolf: It was AWESOME! Our wedding was perfect–it was on our facility that we built together! As we started the race hand in hand with our loved ones, it was an overwhelming feeling of JOY! Seeing everyone smiling, laughing, running, and performing the obstacles was simply amazing. There was some that have never done a race, but doing it with family and friends they had the courage to do it.
HG: It was so nice to play on obstacles again. I’m thrilled for you both and excited to be a part of your day. Before we go, tell our readers what’s next for you guys.
Wolf: Well, we still plan on running a Spartan Race in our wedding attire. We are thinking Anniversary run for Ohio 2021?? Who would like to join us??
Keep up with the Wolfpak and check their training site out by following them on Instagram.