Almost 2 years ago today, I was out riding with a badass triathlete friend in Steamboat and I remember telling her I would never do a full Ironman. “That was totally crazy!!”, I thought. But looking back I realized, this was actually a challenge to one day race a full Ironman distance triathlon.
I first caught the triathlon bug as I crossed the finish line at the Without Limits Steamboat Springs Sprint Tri in 2018. This was my first triathlon of any distance. I spent the summer training with a local tri team for this race and ended up winning my age group and finishing 2nd overall behind an “Elite” racer. From here I hired my first coach and started training for 70.3 mile distance races. A year ago today I raced my first Ironman 70.3 at St. George, followed by 70.3 Boulder and 70.3 Augusta.
When COVID hit earlier this year and races started getting cancelled, it made me realize that while I love racing, it isn’t where I get all my motivation for training. There is no doubt I love the feeling of crossing the finish line surrounded by hundreds of strangers before going straight to the massage tent. I am planning to write a separate blog post on why I love triathlon and where my motivation comes from, but realizing this and knowing that I thrive off of having clear and defined goals spurred my idea to “race” my first full distance Ironman “at home” in Durham this fall. I love training and wanted to find a way to train for something meaningful during this time of great uncertainty and fight for racial justice. So here it goes!
I’m really excited to announce my Durham Ironman fundraiser called “Tri for $10K”. Here is how it will work. I will race (against myself) a full Ironman distance triathlon to raise $10,000 for a non-profit organization in Durham. I will be announcing the non-profit recipient soon. This event will not be possible on my own, so I will be looking towards family and friends to support me during this race. Even if you are not in a place to donate money, there will be other ways to get involved. My hope is this goal will demonstrate that by changing your mindset and setting goals, anything is possible.
I will be posting regular blogs to provide training updates and deeper insight into my love for triathlon. You can also follow my journey on instagram @sham.hawkins.