Cheyenne Syrek had great luck finding the perfect dress for her Sweet 16 party in June. It was a strapless, beaded, light-blue ball gown with a voluminous tulle skirt fit for Cinderella, and she got it as a free hand-me-down from a family friend. Little did anyone know it was also going to live a very different third life.
“I just love blue, and my theme was the moon and the sky,” the rising junior from Bay Shore, N.Y., tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “A lot of my court came into the room to see me, and they all just froze and were like, ‘Cheyenne?’ ”
It was not the typical outfit for Cheyenne, who plays softball, soccer, and basketball, and prefers clothing she can “play hard” in, as her mother puts it. She eventually did play hard in the gown, too, tearing it in places and rendering it unfit for passing on to another wearer.
“Cheyenne was so in love with the dress; she really wasn’t willing to let go of it,” says mother Sarah Syrek. “She kind of had it set up in the middle of the rec room like a piece of furniture. I encouraged her to make one more special memory in it and then say goodbye.”
Having seen “Trash the Dress” photo shoots, Sarah came up with the idea that Cheyenne could wear her beloved gown to the Tough Mudder race she was about to do with her father, Vin Syrek.
“I was completely against it,” Cheyenne recalls. “I was like, ‘No, I can’t watch my beautiful dress be destroyed!’ ”
Father and daughter had been training together since he first got into Tough Mudder-style races, running at the track and working out at a nearby obstacle course gym. The 5K Tough Mudder in Old Bethpage, N.Y., on July 22 was perfectly timed for them to finally run the race together. And after much nagging, Cheyenne agreed to wear the dress.
“In the race, she was hardcore,” Vin says proudly. “She was the one leaving me in the dust.”
That’s even while wearing the dress, which Vin calls her 11th obstacle. It got wetter and muddier with each step.
“It just got in my way a bunch of times, but I would hold it up,” Cheyenne says.
Some people made false assumptions about a young girl in a ball gown. During the log carry, someone handed her a small stick, which she refused in favor of a heavy log. Even her dad thought she might have to take the dress off at one point.
“The one [obstacle] I thought she might have trouble with was Everest, where you have to take a running start up a curved wall and then grab hold of the people at the top who help pull you up,” Vin says. “I asked her, ‘Do you think you can still do this one in the dress?’ She said, ‘Yeah,’ and made it up on her first shot.'”
The fun of the race, and the attention she got with her unusual athletic gear, were enough to make Cheyenne want to do it again, maybe in her prom dress next time.
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