It all began at the Barnstead Old Home Days 5k Road Race. Amidst the classic car show, the Lion’s Club pancake breakfast, and the locals sitting on their porches drinking beers at 9am (seriously), these two star-crossed lovers first set eyes on each other. Recently, Alicia of Cordele Photography captured their romantic picnic engagement photo shoot. Read their full story, compiled by Heather, below. Such a great story!
Chris first noticed Heather when he had the good fortune of parking his vehicle right behind hers before the race, and Heather noticed the cute boy in the snappy red Whirlaway racing uniform as he ran past her, very fast, after the turnaround halfway into the race. As it so happens, both Heather and Chris finished 2nd place that day. Heather, having inside information from running this race the year previous, knew that 1st place winners received cold hard cash as a prize while 2nd place finishers only received a useless plastic medallion. Seeing this as an opportunity to make a move, Heather went up to Chris and made an incredibly witty comment about the perks of being first place loser at the Barnstead 5k…Chris replied with a look of fear and a noise that sounded like a mix of confusion and a precursor to being seasick.
Heather figured this guy’s response was either due to not understanding the English language, being disgusted by her continued sweating nearly an hour after the race had completed or, perhaps, to him being mentally challenged. She walked away and promptly forgot about the situation.
Three months later, Heather finished up her final season of collegiate cross country with a win at the division national championships, which got her a few write-ups in local newspapers. An unsuspecting Chris read one of these articles and recognized Heather as the cute, albeit sweaty, girl that scared him by talking to him at the road race the previous summer. He saw this as an opportunity to redeem himself and contacted Heather with a congratulatory message on, where else but … Facebook.
After accepting his friend request (once she figured out who he was!), Heather and Chris shared several messages back and forth, some about running, training etc. but, more about another shared interest… hiking! Heather invited Chris on an upcoming winter hiking trip she had planned, the idea of hiking up mountains in the snow intrigued Chris enough that he was willing to give it a try, and so it was a first date!
Their relationship continued to flourish despite the challenges of distance (Heather was still living “way up” in New Hampshire and Chris was in Massachusetts) and Heather being all but consumed by the blinding stress of dental hygiene school. She graduated hygiene school in the spring of 2009 and at that point she decided to follow her heart, pack up and leave her beloved home state of New Hampshire to find a job closer to where Chris lived.
As time passed, Chris and Heather shared many fun adventures hiking, running and traveling, and then in April 2010 there was the trip that ended up being the game changer.
They planned on a 10 day vacation in Ireland on a self-guided tour in a rental car, with a half marathon to be raced in the beginning part of the trip. All went flawlessly, (including the half marathon where both Heather and Chris surprisingly won their respective races!) Flawless, that is, until it was time to leave, because that is when a volcanic eruption in Iceland halted all European air travel and Heather and Chris were trapped in Ireland…
As it so happens, their internment in Ireland lasted another six days after the originally planned departure date, and over that time they continued to tour the country in the rental car and enjoyed themselves immensely. That’s when it hit them! Despite all the things that could have soured the relationship on this trip, such as being alone together for 16 days straight with no real itinerary, Chris navigating the way in a foreign country while Heather drove on the left side of the road for the first time (in a manual transmission car none the less!) and the uncertainty of not knowing when they would be able to go home, the couple didn’t have a single argument. That is when they realized their relationship may be the lasting kind.
After some long talks, more vacations and a whole lot more road races, Chris proposed to Heather near the summit of Middle Carter mountain while enjoying one of Heather’s favorite views in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.
SVB wishes Heather and Chris the very best as they start a new chapter of their future together this August!
Photography: Cordele Photography