If 2020 was a normal year, Oahu native Carly Killam would be settling into an AirBnb in Kailua-Kona, alongside some of her triathlon teammates, gearing up for one of the biggest races of her life.
But 2020 has been anything but normal. So, instead of running down Ali’i Drive towards the finish line of the Ironman World Championships on Saturday, Killam, 35, will be walking down the aisle en route to the start of something else epic: Her marriage to fellow triathlete, Nick Brown.
After Killam and Brown, who also lives on Oahu, were engaged during a 100-mile ride along the island’s famous ridges, they hoped to get married in February to coincide with the postponed date of the World Championships—which they’ve competed in a combined six times between them. That would give them plenty of time to plan–and for Brown’s family to make arrangements to travel from Pennsylvania.
But, when Ironman canceled the World Championships outright, they decided they really didn’t need to wait several more months to have a wedding. “With the island’s changing COVID restrictions, it’s really hard to plan for next week, yet alone the next few months,” said Brown, 38. “We figured, ‘Why not do it sooner’?”
While mulling over a wedding date, Killam had an epiphany during a training run. “The numbers ‘10-10’ just popped in my head,” she said. “But then I thought, ‘Don’t we have plans that day?’” When she returned home to check her calendar, she realized that it was, in fact, the date of the original Ironman World Championships, which had been scrapped months ago at the beginning of the COVID pandemic. “So, yeah, we were free,” she laughed.
In accordance with Oahu’s current gathering limits, Brown and Killam will have an intimate ceremony of just five guests in Killam’s mother’s backyard on Saturday, Oct. 10 at 10 a.m. Friends and family from other parts of the island and across the country will be able to join in via a livestream. After the ceremony, the couple plan to grab tacos from the food truck down the street, then virtually meet up with friends arranged in breakout groups, as though they’re hopping from table to table at a reception.
Their coach, Michelle Simmons, will officiate the ceremony. “Their relationship is so special,” said Simmons, who heads Team BSC Triathlon. “I coached Carly for a couple of years before she met Nick and have watched them grow together. They’re a great team.”
Because they couldn’t hold certain pre-wedding traditions, like a shower and a bachelorette party, due to COVID, Simmons has been encouraging her athletes to remotely fete the bride-to-be. Throughout the week, Killam’s teammates–and even her mom–have gone for runs dressed like “runaway brides,” complete with flowing veils and white tutus. They’ve been posting the videos on Instagram, tagging Killam. “She can’t have the big wedding with 100 people,” said Simmons. “But hopefully, this will make her feel special.”
Killam and Brown plan to be back on Kona next year for the World Championships–with even more reason to celebrate.
“Ironman weekend is something we look forward to every year,” said Killam. “But now this time of year will be special for us no matter what.”