Matt and Yvonne tie the knot

Yvonne and Matt Carpenter getting married Yvonne and I met at an Incline Club workout so it was only logical (to us anyway:-) that we get married at an Incline Club workout. So during an otherwise normal Sunday long run we took a break at the first scenic overlook in Waldo Canyon. 59 people and 8 dogs ran 4 to 9 miles depending on which way they went to get to the overlook. Parents and more friends opted to drive to the trailhead and take a shorter 1/2 mile hike bringing the total to 96 bipeds and 10 quadrupeds. This presented the only problem of the day — we did not have enough kazoos! Now 76 trombones may have led the big parade but it was not enough for the big “I DO!” However 76 kazoos were more than enough to make the sounds of Chariots of Fire, Here Comes the Bride and Rocky reverberate off the walls of Waldo and Williams Canyon! Again using our running logic we figured the best way to select a Best Man and Bridesmaid was to have a race. Dan Vega and Annemarie Weisner won the honors with Dan setting a PR to the top of Waldo Canyon. After Dan was given the ring to hold until the crucial moment he had to be restrained from going for a “cool down” run. As we began our life-long run enough birdseed was thrown to keep the Waldo Canyon bird population fed until summer. The reception later in the evening saw 18 large pizzas, a huge cake, tons of ice cream, drinks and chips disappear without a trace. Glen Ash ran the pool table off of a break becoming the first person to do so on my table and like the last Incline Club party he went undefeated! However, this time no one was silly enough to put any money on the table against him!

Later, thanks to video analysis of the wedding ceremony, the grassy knoll snowball thrower was tricked into a confession. Club member Tony Eckel, feeling the heat, soon came clean. In the photo shown above Tony (on the right with the orange and blue hat) is trying to play the kazoo with a smirk on his face as he watches the snow fall from my face. Yvonne was already protecting herself from the birdseed that came from everywhere — we both had it in our shoes and Yvonne even got some in her jog bra! Several people, after seeing this photo, speculated that there was a second thrower because there appears to be several snowballs falling from my face. However a special committee was put together and after talking with witnesses they have put out the single snowball theory. It is the opinion of the committee that this was one snowball that broke apart and not a conspiracy. They site as evidence their inspection of the wedding video clearly showing the motion of my head when hit by the snowball was back and to my right, BACK AND TO MY RIGHT, clearly pointing to Tony as the lone thrower. However conspiracy theorists claim, “No way could one snowball cause that much damage” and point to a dog bark right at the crucial “kiss” in the wedding as evidence of a conspiracy. They continue, “Did you see how it went from being overcast to sunny right before the ceremony started? Do you think that happened by accident? Did you check out the occupation of the so called lone thrower and the name of the dog that barked as the newlyweds kissed? Tony is a weather forecaster for the airforce and the dog’s name is, that’s right, Sunny!” The dog owner was found to be one Mike Sumichrast who responded “I swear it wasn’t me. It was either the person to my right or the person just to the right of them. I’m just a pawn in a broad roadie conspiracy.” Who knows what will turn up as more photos are developed?

Now the real kicker to all of this was that next day our wedding ended up on the front page of the Gazette. Here are the two stories the newspaper ran.

This story has been archived from the
February 21, 2000

Waldo Canyon Wedding

Couple dashes to say ‘I do’

By Deb Acord/The Gazette
Edited by Mike Braham; Headline by Sherida Warner

Every Sunday morning in the winter, a group called the Incline Club meets in Manitou Springs and heads out for a training run.

Sometimes the runners head up Barr Trail. Other times, they take the Ute Indian Trail, bound for Waldo Canyon, where they can run a loop in early-morning sunshine.

Jerilee Bennett/The Gazette
World-class runner Matt Carpenter sprints Sunday down Waldo Canyon Trail with his new bride, the former Yvonne Franceschini. Pop cans jostle behind the newlyweds.
World-class runner Matt Carpenter sprints Sunday down Waldo Canyon Trail with his new bride, the former Yvonne Franceschini. Pop cans jostle behind the newlyweds.
It’s usually about a two-hour run, but Sunday it took longer.

Everyone stopped for a wedding. Matt Carpenter, 35, a world-class runner who holds both the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon records and who founded the Sunday morning runs, married Yvonne Franceschini, 35.

Carpenter and two friends started the Incline Club four years ago on the roadbed of the old Manitou Incline, a cable car train that used to take people to the summit of Mount Manitou. It’s a short training route with a 41 percent average grade.

Two years ago on an Incline run, Carpenter met Franceschini, a native of Brazil. He said he was impressed by how quickly she improved - “she started at over 40 minutes, but soon was doing it under 28.” He was attracted to her passion for running, but even more, he said, “I loved her smile.”

So Sunday morning, the couple said their vows on an overlook at Waldo Canyon.

Bob McAndrews, a runner and friend, presided, looking official (at least from the waist up) in an Elizabethan jacket, dapper top hat and running shoes and tights.

Franceschini wore a white hat with a veil and a white long-sleeved shirt. At the last minute, a friend lent Carpenter a tweed suit coat to go with his black T-shirt and running tights.

When it was time for the groom to place the ring on the bride’s hand, there was a tiny delay. She had to take off her blue running gloves.

Other than that, the wedding went perfectly. Guests had been instructed to practice the music the couple chose - themes from “Chariots of Fire” and “Rocky” - and none of the kazoos froze up during the important musical segments.

Dogs in attendance, including a Dalmatian and a husky, didn’t fight. Wedding guests who chose the long way to the ceremony all made it around the eight-mile Waldo Canyon loop in respectable times.

The sun even came out, taking the bite out of the late February morning air.

Carpenter said when the pair decided to get married, they were looking for a special place for the ceremony.

“We met through the incline, and I’ve been with the club so long, it feels like an extended family to me,” he said. “We thought it was a neat way to share our love, and get the long run in.”

Franceschini is a software engineer; Carpenter works as a part-time Webmaster who also makes money on the running circuit.

In recent years, he has established himself as one of the world’s best high-altitude marathon runners, called skyrunners. He holds the official world marathon altitude record for a time of 2:52:57 in a race run above 14,000 feet in Tibet.

The slight runner couldn’t seem to stop smiling Sunday. When the ceremony was over, friends tied strings of pop cans to the couple’s waists, pinned on “Just Married” signs and sent them on their way, running back down the trail.

Copyright 1999-2000, The Gazette, a Freedom Communications, Inc. Company. All rights reserved.

This story has been archived from the
February 23, 2000


Skiers, runners tie the knot in most unique of ceremonies

By Deb Acord/The Gazette

Outdoor weddings aren’t that uncommon in Colorado, where many people choose to live because of the scenery. But outdoor weddings in February are a little rare. It’s winter, and the fact that snow covers most of the landscape deters most folks.

But last week started and ended with outdoor weddings. One embraced the most extreme winter weather. It was cold and brief and a little impersonal, if novel. The other counted on the sunshine of a late February morning and the warmth of friends who made a quirky affair downright intimate.

On Valentine’s Day at Loveland Ski Area, 80 couples braved blizzard-like conditions at 12,000 feet to be married or renew their vows in a ceremony that is a ski-area tradition. Not all were skiers. Some floundered in the knee-deep powder whipped by wind.

Scarves, hats and goggles made everyone, including the couples, nearly unrecognizable. Relentless winds often drowned out the brief ceremony.

Some people came for the novelty, some for the powder. A few brought family members, but attendance was limited by the requirement that everyone had to ski or snowboard to get back down the mountain.

A little closer to home, Sunday was wedding day for running sweethearts Matt Carpenter and Yvonne Franceschini, who chose to swap vows at an overlook on Waldo Canyon Trail.

Carpenter holds records for the Pikes Peak Marathon and Ascent and now competes as a skyrunner, specializing in high-altitude marathons.

He met Franceschini two years ago at a weekly run, and when they decided to get married, they invited the people closest to them: Franceschini’s parents flew in from Brazil, and Carpenter invited his running club — a club he jokingly calls a “cult.”

The day started out brisk and cloudy, but as the ceremony began, the sun came out. Most of the wedding guests ran a few miles up from Manitou Springs and then ran the entire Waldo Canyon loop before the wedding. Wearing their best running/wedding clothes, they formed a corridor along the trail and hummed a presentable version of “Chariots of Fire” on kazoos.

Carpenter and Franceschini were all smiles as they read the vows they wrote for the ceremony. They talked about beginning their “lifelong run that will cover many miles,” and vowed to stay by each other “on and off-road, with or without sponsorship.”

The mood was light; after all, dogs were there. But the humor didn’t detract from the deep feelings of love and camaraderie in the group. Carpenter says he designed the wedding to include those closest to him, his “family,” the friends who have run with him on snow and ice, across gravel and rock, for hundreds, maybe thousands, of miles.

Copyright 1999-2000, The Gazette, a Freedom Communications, Inc. Company. All rights reserved.