Post-race wedding ceremony a win for charity

The Cooper Ridge Bridge Run in Charleston, South Carolina is the third-largest 10K race in America. In a first-ever post-race wedding ceremony at the 2011 run this last weekend, the culminating event was a Race to the Altar contest and fundraiser which resulted in a $10,000 donation to the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Children’s Hospital.

Sponsored by Carnival Cruise Lines, a nationwide search selected Andy Cook and Tina Berwanger as the winning couple based on their inspiring personal story. The couple met at Surry Community College in North Carolina and were two of over 40,000 participants in this years race, their first. Using preparation for the race as a goal to aid in an ongoing, realistic weight loss/lifestyle program, they said the race to the altar “is symbolic of the healthy lifestyle that we want to continue to lead” after they were married.

Andy and Tina ran in custom-designed wedding attire then, after the race, they were married in a beach-themed ceremony complete with sand, calypso band and slushy drinks in Charleston‘s Marion Square. The couple also got the first dance at the Cooper River Bridge Run Finish Festival in front of family, friends and 40,000 fellow runners plus a honeymoon cruise aboard Carnival Cruise Lines’ Fantasy.

Fulfilling a promise made on New Year Eve in Times Square, this was part of Carnival’s “Hey America, DidJa Ever?” social focus where the line collected “Top 100 Firsts” from over 420,000 Facebook fans. Fans were encouraged to tighten up relationships by sharing experiences through photos and videos aimed to create events and memories. Carnival promised to help make those dreams come true for fans giving away anything from cruise vacations to appearing on stage with a favorite band.