You see this woman in the photo? She is a Goddess.
Her name is Eileen and she was one of the last finishers of the triathlon that I did a few weeks ago. But, she didn’t do the sprint level – she did the whole Olympic triathlon. WOW!
This included a 1.5 kilometer swim (0.93 mile), 40 KM (25 mile) bike ride, 10 K (6.2 mile) run. She did it and walked over to her husband and kids after about 5 hours on the course and smiled.
She looked so happy and relaxed.
At that point, the awards had been given out and the post race lasagna had been finished but she was still out there – running her pace to the finish line. I had been encouraged to stay to the end to cheer in the last competitors and I am so glad that I did.
Eileen actually made it onto the podium! She raced as an Athena class of athlete which is over 165 pounds and there were only three in the race. They give out awards to the top three finishers. If she had been a bit faster, she would have gotten to go up and be cheered by the other participants as she accepted her trophy. How cool is that?
There is a male division called Clydesdale which is over 220 pounds and is not a very good name. Who wants to be a horse pulling a truck full of beer? But, I think it is great for larger men to feel included in triathlon.
At any rate, Eileen is an Athena and so am I – photo below.
I haven’t seen 165 on a scale for a loooong time. I weigh 188 pounds and I don’t think I’m getting any smaller. I could have chosen to compete in my age division if I wanted to – but I liked the idea of being called a goddess.
You see, triathlon embraces people of a larger size. You can buy triathlon competition clothes up to the size 6XL and find Facebook groups devoted to the Athena and Clydesdale divisions.
Before I started my triathlon journey, I worried about what I would wear and found a supportive blog about being larger and finding the right clothes. I had so many questions about the clothes because of the size of my breasts and booty. Because of Athena, the answers were out there.
There are many stories of 250 pound (and up) people who couldn’t swim 8 laps who trained and went on to do triathlons. They are not stories of weight loss but of getting fit and becoming part of something healthy.
Athenas hang together as a group and support each other. I started with 9 Athenas and when I was out on the course – as they passed me (as they frequently did) - I would hear, “Go ATHENA!!!”.
You have an A (a scarlet A :) written on your calf if you decide to compete in the Athena group so anyone coming behind you can see your designation.
It always made me smile and I always yelled right back – but I am not sure they heard me because they were moving so fast ☺
I haven’t done many sports like this except run 5Ks – but I think that this weight division is very unique. I absolutely adore how it encourages people who may not look like the Wheaties version of an athlete.
There is a place for larger women and they get to be called ATHENA. How cool is that?
Does having an Athena division make you interested in triathlon?
Other posts you might like:
It is a little hard to believe since I have been writing about this for over a year – but on Sunday, August 5th, I completed a sprint triathlon....