True inspiration isn’t something you earn in the gym. Sometimes the best boost comes from reading about the triumphs, failures and accomplishments of your fellow triathletes. When your inspiration stores are running low, don’t turn to the gym or a more intense training schedule. Rather, look to those who’ve come before you.

The following 25 triathlon stories showcase the human side of these races. It’s easy to forget behind the determination, sweat and tears rests a real person. Use their experiences as a way to boost your confidence and find your purpose. Remember, it all starts with a desire. So what’s yours?

It Begins With a Bang – 25 Triathlon Stories

Why I Race by Deanna McCurdy

What began with excitement, quickly turned into anxiety and worry. Deanna McCurdy gave birth to her daughter in March of 2008; however, 16 months later her bundle of joy was diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome. This neurological disorder afflicts roughly 1 in 15,000 children. Yet, instead of taking this diagnosis to a dark place, Deanna had a different approach. She took to triathlons to raise awareness and funds for the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics (FAST). With the desire to push herself and her cause, Deanna has completed several triathlons.

Read her story and see just how a mother’s love and determination can make a monumental difference.

Juggling School and Sports by Rachel Walters

Rachel struggled with issues shared by millions – self-doubt and self-pity. Instead of sinking into depression and negativity, she chose a different path. What started off as a regular workout routine swiftly transformed into a burning passion. The beginning of her journey was a way to get rid of negative thoughts. However, the ending gave so much more. Her determination to take back control and live her ultimate life drove her to first triathlon.

Read Rachel’s story to see how one woman’s desire to forego negativity created a thriving triathlon spirit.

The Titanium Triathlete by Dina Neils

A sufferer of rheumatoid arthritis, at the age of 18 Dina was told she would never run again. In fact, the doctor’s suspected she’d be wheelchair bound in her 20s. An accomplished long-distance runner, Dina refused to accept this diagnosis. With determination and pure desire, she pushed through to compete in over 12 triathlons and running races.

Read Dina’s story to witness determination and desire overcome all obstacles.

Honoring Our Fallen Through Triathlon by Amy Cotta

Amy didn’t know how to swim till she was 39 years old. She’s never been a cyclist and she laughs at the thought of running. So how did Amy become an accomplished triathlete? A desire to raise awareness for fallen troops. In 2011, her oldest son joined the Marines. Filled with anxiety, stress and worry, Amy chose a unique path. She channeled these feelings into her training. Years later, Amy has raised a massive amount of awareness for the troops. She began the Medals of Honor awareness project to honor fallen soldiers. Since then, her triathlon races are dedicated to all those serving in the military.

Read Amy’s story to uncover how desire can truly alter an entire group of people.

From Newbie to Nationals by Stefanie Fiery-Cale

Starting as a newbie, Stefanie had nothing but desire and passion. Although she was an active child, it wasn’t until her children were born in her 30s that the triathlon bug bit. Enrolling in a local boot camp, Stefanie set out on an adventure that would change her life forever. It wasn’t until she saw a triathlon in progress that she began her journey. After only six weeks, Stefanie found herself in her first triathlon. To her surprise, she finished in 10th place. It wasn’t long before she was enrolling in as many triathlons as possible.

Read Stefanie’s story to see how a mother went from a casual exerciser to competing in the USA Triathlon Nationals.

Getting Up by Christina Hammitt

Christina knows how hard a triathlon can be. During a race, she found herself in a terrible bicycling accident. While many would call it quits, she kept moving. With her mantra, “Keep moving,” she pushed forward. She learned a triathlon isn’t about the actual race. It’s about facing your fears. Overcoming obstacles, and striving for more.

Read Christina’s story to see how determination and spirit determine your overall triathlon success.

Reinventing Who I Am by Renee S.

What was supposed to be an exciting time, quickly turned terrifying. In the fall of 2004, Renee gave birth to a seriously ill child. Sadly, her newborn would not live to see the accomplishments of his mother. Crippled with grief and physical pain from spending 12 weeks in a static position. Unable to freely walk, Renee faced an uphill challenge. However, she did not let insurmountable pain get the best of her. In 2012, she ran her first half marathon. Later on in the summer of 2013, against all odds, Renee competed in five triathlons.

Read Renee’s story to see how determination can overcome even the most horrifying life experiences.

Racing for a Cause by Edward Ignacio

Involved in law enforcement for 22 years, Edward sought to turn his passion into an opportunity for awareness. As an avid triathlete, he called upon his fitness to raise money for the Hawaii Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation. Since he began his mission, Edward has competed in five triathlons, including the Ironman World Championship.

Read Edward’s story and witness passion turn into financial and personal success.

From Colon Cancer Survivor to Ironman by Paul Weigel

As Paul began to train for his triathlon, he was diagnosed with colon cancer. Facing stage 4 colon cancer, his triathlon training was put on pause. Facing hip surgery, 28 rounds of chemotherapy and countless hours of pain, Paul did not give up. He kept his desire alive. In January 2014, Paul was declared cancer free. Since then, he’s been involved in numerous triathlons.

Read Paul’s story and see how even with tremendous odds piled against you, hope and passion still live.

Who Would Have Expected by F. Heidi Musser

Born completely without sight, becoming a triathlete was never a thought. However, life had a different plan. Through the help of a coach, Heidi began her long training process. In August 1998, she competed in her first triathlon. Since then, she’s competed in numerous triathlons and witness changes to the blind community.

Read Heidi’s story to see even the greatest physical losses can’t stop pure determination.

My Weight Loss Journey by Dave Dallas

Tipping the scale at 215 pounds, Dave needed to change. His life was going downhill. A self-proclaimed “average Joe,” Dave turned to triathlons to alter his path. With nothing more than determination and a goal, he set out in training. After shedding 50 pounds, Dave had met his weight loss goal. Competing in several triathlons, Dave had truly transformed his life.

Read Dave’s story and see how his spirit and drive gave him a new lease on life and health.

Getting to the Starting Line by Leslie Puzio

In 2001, Leslie was diagnosed with benign lymphangioma that was nearly the size of a basketball. After removal, she was left at a frail 112 pounds. It wasn’t until 2007 she began training. While this was to regain her health, it soon opened a new door. Starting in 2009, Leslie began her journey as a triathlete. Since then, she’s competed in numerous races.

Read Leslie’s story and see how one step at a time adds up to dramatic changes.

Blessed and Persistent by Steve Pulver

Out of shape and determined, Steve sought a way to change his life. With the help of triathlete friends, he began his training journey. Beginning with marathons, he slowly upped his game. For over a decade, Steve has continued to push himself harder. Resulting in competing in numerous Ironman triathlons.

Read Steve’s story to see a timeline of a winner.

One Step at a Time by Jessica Van Orden

Facing true hurdles, Jessica is no stranger to disruptions. At the Cozumel Ironman, she discovered her bicycle was broke, she would have zero on-site support and was stuck in a foreign language country. However, she faced her fears. Ultimately, she finished the race. Digging deep, Jessica faced her fears and all obstacles.

Read AraAnn’s Story

Broken Man to Ironman by Greg Grandgeorge

After a year of considering a triathlon, Greg began his journey. Faced with personal hiccups and tragic events, life was not easy for Greg. However, he did not stop. All seemed to come to a stop when he was ran over by a pickup truck during a training session. Yet, this did not stop Greg. His competitive nature took over, and is now an accomplished triathlete.

Read Greg’s Story

Fueled by Determination by Amy Collett

With pure determination, nothing is impossible. Amy shares a story written by her mother-in-law regarding her son. Faced with a terrible accident, Rick faced a challenging battle for his life. With a steel rod in his femur, no one believed he would accomplish what he has. Facing an uphill battle, Rick was determined. After several years of intensive physical therapy, he competed in his first triathlon.

Read Rick’s story shared by Amy to see even when all things seem impossible, miracles do happen.

Rehabilitation Through Activity and Triathlon by Diane Stokes

Diane began training to help her neighbor recover from breast cancer. What she thought was a kind act, would soon turn into a thriving passion. Diane soon began racing in triathlons to raise awareness for the STAR Program Certification, which she started.

Read Diane’s story and see how triathlon’s can influence more than your personal fitness goals.

Advice From an Older Sprinter by James Gray

Finishing over 100 sprint triathlons, James is an excellent example of determination – regardless of age. Throughout his story, James delivers solid advice for triathletes of all ages. If you’re seeking a way to boost your moral and performance, turn to James.

Read James’ Story for true inspiration and solid advice.

Giving to Charity Through Multisport by Kamden Hoffmann

Racing benefits far more than your body. Kamden delves into how his involvement with triathlons have truly shaped the future of many charities. If you’re seeking advice or inspiration, this story is bound to accomplish these goals.

Read Kamden’s Story to see how your races can influence charity organizations.

My Story by Kent Bramley

Kent’s story is one shared by millions of triathletes. Months and years of training lead up to a single moment. Standing at the starting point, a feeling of isolation can quickly encase your mind. Kent’s story delves into how helping his son get involved with triathlons. Throughout the story, he basks in the beauty of watching his son meet his goals and overcome all obstacles.

Read Kent’s story to see the other side of triathlons.

Doing Your Personal Best by Stacy Brocker

Stacy’s story is one of an average person accomplishing above-average goals. Her triathlon story started when she got married. After encouragement from her friends, she reluctantly began her journey to triathlon success. Starting a group of triathletes for mothers, she began a rigorous training routine. While she faced many obstacles, her desire to be healthy and happy drove her to accomplish goals she never though possible.

Read Stacy’s story

Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover by Marcos Lara

Marcos’ story tells the tale of overcoming physical obstacles. He discusses how his encounter with a once wheelchair-bound man transformed his outlook on life. This man, who is know a successful triathlete, showcases pure human spirit and strength.

Read Marcos’ Story

From Heart Transplant to Ironman by Kyle Garlett

Do you think having a heart transplant would disrupt your triathlon goals? While many would say yes, Kyle disagrees. Kyle is the very first heart transplant recipient to complete the Hawaii Ironman. His story goes to show, with passion and determination nothing can stand in your way.

Listen to Kyle’s Podcast

Joy Across a Finish Line by Colleen Kelly Alexander

Lying in a coma for almost a month, and after 22 surgeries, Colleen is a miracle. While it’s not only a miracle she’s alive, but she’s a triathlete. In only two years after her life-threatening trauma, Colleen and her husband competed in their first triathlon. Since then, she’s competed in several races. Her story is one for those who feel they cannot compete.

Read Colleen’s story

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