Monday, May 5, 2003

Couple tie knot after marathon

By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

The bride was late for her own wedding, but the guests understood: She had just run a marathon.

Molly McNeil and Jeff Knowles kiss after they were married in Covington following the Flying Pig Marathon.
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Molly, holding a pink pig pinata, and Jeff watch kids scramble for candy after the bride whacked the pinata with a bat.
(Michael E. Keating photos)
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Molly McNeil ran the Flying Pig Marathon in a little over 3 1/2 hours Sunday morning, then freshened up, threw on the new white dress she picked out three days ago and said her vows in the middle of a Covington restaurant parking lot.

As "Here Comes the Bride" started streaming from a boom box, she put a wreath of flowers on her head, looked around at the guests sitting on folding chairs and said, "This is hilarious."

So began the marriage of McNeil, a 27-year-old taking her finals at Xavier University this week, and Jeff Knowles, 26, a chemist. They'd been dating for three years and planned to be married in the fall on a South Carolina beach. But their deal on a house in Blue Ash came through more quickly than expected and they were anxious to move in, said the bride's mother, Janie McNeil.

So when they heard a Cincinnati radio station pitch for a post-Pig happy couple, they volunteered.

Knowles, in khakis, admitted to being a little nervous. But he said he'd definitely remember his parking-lot wedding.

Officiant Steve Hoffman started the five-minute ceremony with a nod to its lack of traditionalism. "But hey," he said, "this is gonna work out just fine."

McNeil and Knowles exchanged rings and vows. Then the bride whacked a pink pig pinata with a bat until it broke open. The flower girl and other children at the ceremony scrambled for the candy.

The mother of the bride, a decorator, was a good sport. She learned of the quick wedding Friday morning and helped her daughter pick out the dress in less than a half hour. Then, in two days, she organized the reception at her Finneytown house and filled in as florist, buying flowers at Kroger at 10:30 p.m. Saturday and tying them into bouquets.

"I just hope," she said, laughing, "that I live long enough to see her daughter do this to her."


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