Sporty couple to tie the knot during NZ triathlon

READY FOR THE BIG DAY: John Leyshon, Mel Speare, groom Mark "Sharky'' Smoothy, bride Alyssa Coe, Mick Farragio and ...
Marjorie Cook/Fairfax NZ

READY FOR THE BIG DAY: John Leyshon, Mel Speare, groom Mark "Sharky'' Smoothy, bride Alyssa Coe, Mick Farragio and Cameron Kratzing, all of Brisbane, wear their race suits and wedding costumes in Wanaka.

Brisbane couple Alyssa Coe and Mark "Sharky" Smoothy has barely been in Wanaka for 12 hours before they became tourist attractions.

The loved-up pair plan to marry during Challenge Wanaka's 226-kilometre triathlon on Sunday, and were trying out their race costumes with some of their friends on the local jetty.

As they performed a stack on the beach for the Wanaka Mirror this afternoon, excited tourists gathered to take their own photos.

SPORTY SOON-TO-BE WEDS: Bride Alyssa Coe wields the stick over wedding guests John Leyshon, Mick Farragio, Cameron ...
Marjorie Cook/Fairfax NZ

SPORTY SOON-TO-BE WEDS: Bride Alyssa Coe wields the stick over wedding guests John Leyshon, Mick Farragio, Cameron Kratzing, Mel Speare and husband to be, Mark "Sharky'' Smoothy.

Coe and Smoothy were jovial and relaxed as they contemplated the challenge in front of them.

It is Coe's sixth iron-distance race and Smoothy has completed more than 40, including all nine of the Wanaka events, putting him in an exclusive club of five athletes who have achieved that milestone.

Coe has not raced in Wanaka before.

As well as more than 85 guests from Australia, the couple have invited a few Wanaka friends, including this year's home-stay hosts Marjorie and Richie Quirion and Smoothy's previous hosts, Heather and Murray Sheppard, who now live in Cromwell. 

The couple are happy for the public to share their joy on the beach.

"It would be awesome if another 80 to 100 people turned up," Smoothy said.

They will wear their race costumes but Coe was not letting on if she had something special to slip over the top.

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"I am definitely getting married in my running shoes. Once they come off, I am not putting them back on," she said.

Most of the wedding party from Australia appear to have an addiction to long-distance cycling and triathlons.

The four friends pictured with Coe and Smoothy today estimated between them they had clocked up 56 long-distance triathlons, although Smoothy had done the lion's share.

The keen charity fundraisers for the Smiling for Smiddy Foundation estimated their accumulated cycling distance to be in excess of 80,000km "just for the six of us", but Smoothy had done about 50 per cent.

"Bizarre? What else is bizarre? I think that 11 of us all doing the [full distance] race together is bizarre. The organisers have allowed us to race together so long as we respect the rules for drafting," Smoothy said.

Nine wedding guests are doing the 226km race with the bride and groom, three are doing the 113km Lake Wanaka Half and many more have come together to form seven teams.

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