Lorelei Sullivan had her race number and swollen ankle hidden under her wedding dress as she walked down the aisle at Gyro Park on Sunday. Her injury prevented her from wearing heels with her wedding dress

A race to the altar

After competing the short course in the Cyswog ‘N’ Fun triathlon, Lorelei Sullivan changed out of her race gear and into her wedding dress

After racing in a triathlon, most athletes spend the rest of the day icing sore limbs or nursing their recovery drinks. But not Lorelei Sullivan.

On Sunday, after competing the short course in the Cyswog ‘N’ Fun triathlon, the Nelson woman changed out of her race gear and into her wedding dress, said her vows in Gyro Park, and spent the rest of the night partying with friends and family.

“I was up at 5:30 a.m. on triathlon day and didn’t get to bed until two or three the next morning,” laughed Sullivan. “It was definitely worth it. I really love the triathlon — it’s part of my life, and there was no way I was going to sit on the sidelines.”

Sullivan explained that her husband, Steve, picked the date for their wedding and through they realized early on that it would conflict with the triathlon, they decided to stick with it.

“Last year I did the long course [in the triathlon], but with the wedding happening the same day, we decided I better stick to the short course — I didn’t want to be falling asleep at our wedding,” she said.

This was Sullivan’s third year doing the Cyswog ‘n’ Fun. She started training for the event in May, along with her sister and daughter, who are all members of a local rookie training group called Mountain Spirit Triathlon Club.

The short course route includes a 500 metre swim, 22 kilometre bike ride and 5 km run

On race day, members of the club taped flowers to their bikes to help celebrate her big day. Sullivan wore a hat with the word  “bride” written on it and a vail attached to the back. She had the words “Tri Bride” printed on the front of her t-shirt and on the back, a to-do list: “swim, bike, run, hair, wedding party.”

Her outfit attracted a lot of attention from fellow racers.

“Before the race everyone kept asking me when I’m getting married. When I said, ‘today,’ the reaction was priceless,” Sullivan said.

She said she was more anxious about the race than she was about the wedding. She’d broken all the rules for preparing for the race the week before.

“I’m supposed to quit drinking the week before the race, but that’s tough with family in town,” she laughed.

Two nights before the event — when most athletes are loading up on carbs and getting extra sleep — Sullivan was at her bachelorette party.

“I was dancing and wrecked my ankle,” she said. “I couldn’t run in the triathlon. I just had to hobble and walk. But I was determined to do it, no matter what.”

Along the run route, Sullivan said everyone who passed her said “hi, bride” and cheered her on.

“Everyone was rooting for me, it was kinda nice actually,” she said. “By the time I finished I just thought, ‘okay the rest of the day is going to be easy compared to this.’”

Sullivan said she was glad to have the triathlon to focus on, and distract her from the craziness that comes with bringing so many people together for a wedding.

“The triathlon was my only mental, emotional and physical saving grace,” she said. “If I had not had to prepare for the triathlon I think I would of cracked under the pressure of family and friends.”