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Tying The Knot: Meet Five Engaged Triathlon Couples

  • By Susan Lacke
  • Published Feb 14, 2013


Stephanie & Jeff

During her her last long run before Ironman Louisville 2010, Stephanie Melkonian noticed an M-dot tattoo on a calf running ahead of her on Chicago’s lakefront path. When she looked up, she noticed the tattoo was attached to the good-looking body of Jeff Linkus.

“I made it my mission to chase him down,” recalls Stephanie, “and at the next water fountain we stopped to chat. After about ten minutes, it became clear he wasn’t going to ask my name or number, much to my dismay, so we parted ways. I referred to him as The Ironman Who Didn’t Ask For My Digits for the next month, until I gave up on the idea that I would ever run into him again.”

“I didn’t have my phone, paper, or even pockets!” Jeff is quick to interject in defense.

Fate intervened two months later, when Stephanie entered the online dating scene and was matched up with a local triathlete. During their initial conversations, it quickly became clear that Jeff was the mysterious Ironman Stephanie had met on the lakefront path.

“We both remembered that day really clearly, and couldn’t believe that in a city of millions, we had met by chance twice. We’ve been together ever since, and to this day, I don’t let Jeff live down the fact that he didn’t ask for my number the first day on the bike path.”

The two were engaged in Kona, Hawaii last April while participating in the Lavaman Olympic Distance Triathlon. Though training and racing is a large part of the relationship, their Chicago wedding on May 4, 2013 will largely be a triathlon-free zone.

“There may be a subtle nod to it here and there, but the wedding day is just as much about our friends and family as it is about us, so we tried to keep triathlon out of it.” reveals Stephanie, before adding with a smile:

“That’s not to say our getaway vehicle won’t have two wheels.”

RELATED – Triathlete Love: Moving In With Your Ironman?

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