July 11, 2014. Talk about a race to the altar! High Country residents Greg Hill and Casie Schuster tied the knot atop Grandfather Mountain on Thursday evening just minutes after finishing The Bear, a grueling 5-mile foot race that kicked off the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games.
The couple exchanged rings beneath the shadow of the Mile High Swinging Bridge in an informal ceremony, a spur-of-the-moment idea that suited the fun-loving couple well.
“We’ve both been married before, so neither of us wanted the big, full-on ceremony and everything that goes with it,” Hill said.
Dressed in a t-shirt printed to look like a bridal gown and carrying a bouquet of handpicked daisies, the bride processed quickly toward her groom to the sound of a bongo drum.
A close friend of the couple, Jayson Milligan, officiated the ceremony and drew laughter as he quoted from “The Princess Bride” movie and described why Hill and Schuster were a perfect match.
“Crazy is only truly happy with more crazy,” Milligan said.
Whether they were crazy or just ambitious, the two runners completed the strenuous run knowing the finish line held more than a keepsake medal. Schuster, who had run The Bear once before, finished minutes before Hill, who said he was fairly new to running.
The groom said he didn’t expect to break any records, but he knew he could finish the 1,500 foot hill climb with his fiancee waiting.
“As she’s pointed out on many occasions, I’m very stubborn,” Hill said.
The ceremony wasn’t merely a union of two “crazy runners.” It also brought together a whopping 18 pets between them to create a true herd, Milligan noted.
When asked whether she would take Hill as her husband, Schuster replied decisively, “Absolutely!”
“Yep,” echoed Hill, who wore a tuxedo t-shirt for the occasion.
The couple exchanged heartfelt vows before Milligan dared the small group of friends and family – and quite a few sweaty onlookers – to object.
Anyone who believed the two should not be married, Milligan urged to “keep your traps shut. This is a very tall mountain, and you will be thrown off.”
A long kiss beneath a spectacular Linville sunset sealed the ceremony, and the group of well-wishers descended to MacRae Meadows to celebrate the marriage amid the Highland Games’ Opening Ceremonies.
The couple planned to depart early Friday morning from Charlotte for a honeymoon in Oregon.
Check out images from the unconventional union below