Alison Semrau and Stephen Cross will be married on Saturday and run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Dallas Half Marathon—with a third of their wedding party—Sunday.
Interview by: Matt Fitzgerald
Alison Semrau, 33, is a real estate attorney in Dallas. Her fiancée, Stephen Cross, 45, is a financial analyst. She’s a runner; he’s a triathlete. After tying the knot in front of 60 guests on Saturday, they and 16 of those guests will wake up early the next morning to participate in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Dallas Half Marathon.
Alison took a break from final wedding preparations to satisfy my curiosity about this arrangement.
First of all, congratulations!
How did you and Stephen meet?
We met through mutual friends, Tyler and Ashley Johnson. Ashley is my running friend and Tyler is Stephen’s triathlon friend.
Was running one of the things you two bonded over?
Yeah. They all do triathlons – the long ones – and I’ve done a few shorter triathlons. But I’ve done a lot of running, so it was easy to talk about that. We run together sometimes and go to races and all that. A lot of our friends do that kind of stuff too.
How long have you been dating?
We started dating about two years ago. Our first date was the St. Paddy’s Day Dash Down Greenville [a 5K run in Greenville, TX]. I did that and he did some St. Paddy’s Day Triathlon.
How did he pop the question?
We got engaged at Scalini’s, which is a neighborhood Italian restaurant where we had our first date.
How did you come up with this idea to start your honeymoon by running a half marathon?
It actually started as a kind of joke, to start our honeymoon by running a half marathon. But then it just kind of snowballed because a lot of our family members and a lot of our friends run, so we just kind of scheduled it into the weekend. I guess some people do a brunch the day after their wedding, so instead of that, we’re going to do this.
So it started as a kind of joke, but as you suggested in something you wrote for us, it’s also a symbolic way to begin a shared commitment to a healthy lifestyle.
Oh, yeah, for sure, because we’re both pretty active and like to participate in races and different sports. We want to be sure that in the future, no matter what—kids, stuff like that—we’re still going to make time to do these kinds of things, just because it’s healthy and we like it. That’s really important to both of us. I grew up in a family that was really active. My parents both ran marathons, so I didn’t know anything different. To just stop doing that entirely would be very weird.
Have you made up any kind of team uniform for your wedding party?
We ended up not making up the singlets we had planned to make because some of the people who are doing the race really want to go for PR’s, and people tend to favor their own running gear. But our friend Jarrod, for a wedding gift, made t-shirts for everybody who is running in it. So we’re going to use them as warm-ups before and after the race and get a picture in them. I haven’t seen them yet, but it’s a play on that MasterCard campaign. So on the back it says something like:
Running a half marathon with your guests the day after the wedding: Priceless
Thanks! I’m interested to see it.
So it sounds like everyone is going to run their own race. But does that count for you and Stephen too?
No. Originally I think I was getting out of control because I was saying that I wanted to PR on this course, because I usually run better when I’m in a good mood and have had some time off of work. So I was saying, “This is like the ultimate. I’m totally going to be in the mental state for a PR!” But he was like, “Are you crazy?” So yes, we are going to run it together. But we were actually talking about it this morning. I was like, “OK, are we really going to just run this race and not run it too fast, because I need know how to plan the next two days, if I can run much or not.” So I think we’re going to run it moderate.
Who has to slow done for whom?
Stephen is faster, but right now it’s kind of reversed because he’s been injured a lot the last year. He said this is going to be the beginning of his comeback. So maybe we’re equally matched right now.
Well, that’s fitting. For the record, what would it take for you to PR?
My best time is 1:29.
That’s pretty good!
While this is a great way to start a honeymoon, I hope it’s not the entire honeymoon?
No, we’re going to Hawaii on Monday. No races. I’ll probably run there, though, because I’ve never been and I think it would be fun to run there and try it out.