Ken Bowman and Sarah McCracken met 10 years ago as volunteers donating their time at the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge bike-a-thon, working at the event's finish in Provincetown, so it is only fitting that the North Easton couple will be married there during the 2011 PMC event.
On Aug. 6, while PMC cyclists finish the first leg of the two day ride in Bourne, about 150 PMC volunteers will be in Provincetown, getting the town ready for the influx of thousands of tired cyclists the following day.
After a volunteer team meeting, Bowman, 55, and McCracken, 61, will tie the knot at the Gazebo at the Provincetown Inn, surrounded by PMC volunteers who have become their closest friends.
Ken and Sarah
annual Pan-Massachusetts Challenge bike-a-thon features 5,000 cyclists biking 10 different routes ranging from 47 to 190 miles on Aug. 6-7. The riders are supported by more than 3,000 volunteers. Thousands of riders participating in the two day challenge will finish inProvincetown Aug 7.
Bowman, a military technician who worked at Otis Air National Guard base, and McCracken met in 2002 during PMC weekend – he was leading a volunteer military team that installed hot outdoor showers for the riders and she was part of the site beatification team. Two years later, following another successful PMC event, they started dating.
In 2006, Bowman served in Iraq and missed the PMC for the first and only time. When he came back, he and McCracken moved in together.
In October 2010, tragedy struck. Bowman's 28-year-old son Sean was killed in a car accident. The day after his death, Bowman and McCracken were in their kitchen.
"It had just started to hit me," McCracken said of Sean's death. "I said to Ken, we couldn't be more of a family then we are right now. We should talk about getting married."
Bowman agreed. Then he told McCracken he had to go upstairs to get something for her. For two years, he had an engagement ring and was ready to propose – but he had been waiting for the right moment. It was here.
He proposed in the kitchen. She said yes. It was Bowman's idea to have the wedding during PMC weekend.
"We met at the PMC, so I just thought we should get married at the PMC," Bowman said.
They'll even wear PMC t-shirts and jeans for the ceremony. The following weekend, they will celebrate home in North Easton with 100 friends and family. Bowman's son Jeff and McCracken's son Philip Regan will be there for the Provincetown nuptials.
Following the wedding ceremony, the couple will be back to work at the PMC finish Sunday, Aug. 7. Bowman heads the volunteer security team and McCracken oversees supplies and signage at the finish line at the Provincetown Inn.