Editor's Note: Our British Bureau Chief, Danny Ward, recently had the chance to catch up with Chrissie Wellington (who is back home in the U.K. for the holidays) and found out that the 3X Ironman World Champ plans to follow in the footsteps of Lance Armstrong and Levi Leipheimer. Detail below:
Back in the UK to catch up with friends and family after her record breaking performance at Ironman Arizona, I was lucky to meet Triple World Champion Chrissie Wellington as she took time out to meet some fellow Triathletes to talk about her early life, career and answer any questions.
Chrissie's rise from obscurity to the biggest name at the moment in Ironman racing is a well documented one, so this was a chance to get inside the mindset and get some insight and from the lady herself.
Although a sporty child, she swam competitively on her local swim team, she more enjoyed the social side of things and keeping fit, but her time there will be forever remembered as “the place where she had her first kiss, rather than for any medals that she won in the pool!”
Whilst talking about her journey into Triathlon, the people and circumstances that helped shape it, what comes across is how Sport has changed her life, the opportunities her fame gives her to inspire others and the good that she can do with it.
Whispers that she was pregnant amused Chrissie, but came as quite a shock to her boyfriend (and 3rd placed finisher in Arizona) Tom Lowe. Funny as this was, this was a brief moment of light relief on a sad day for her.
Adversity makes some people stronger and Wellington was determined to have her Kona, just that it would be in Arizona (We all know what happened there). Mental demons overcome, it was time for burgers and fries, onion rings, donuts.
Chrissie's schedule is still undecided for next year except for Kona which is a given barring illness or injury. She’ll winter in either Tucson or Spain (needs to keep that tan topped up!) before returning to Boulder next year. One race that’s definitely on the radar is the Leadville 100 mountain bike
It’s something she’d “love to do” and ” it’s not a demanding course” (her words not mine!) so expect to see her line up for that one.
Sadly for Brits there’ll be no appearances at either Ironman UK or the inaugural Ironman Wales as the low profile of these events and the lack of competition ruled them out. She did say that she would race Challenge Henley “at the drop of a pin if it wasn’t a month before Kona.”
She “doesn’t like the drafting races” but will be there supporting the Games and doing something, commentary maybe.”
Ten Ironman races, 10 first places, Chrissie Wellington took the chances, worked hard and reached the top.
One of her favourite quotes is from Dr Benjamen E Mays, mentor to Martin Luther King. "The tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goals. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach. It isn’t a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream.”
“If i can do it, so can others” she says. "There are no limits to what you can achieve.”