Chrissie Wellington is one of the greatest Ironman triathletes to ever enter the crystal clear Hawaiian waters of Kona's Dig Me Beach. Mirinda Carfrae calls her a tenacious competitor and indeed Chrissie Wellington, a 4X Ironman World Champion has never lost an Ironman triathlon in her life.
But perhaps more importantly she holds every significant Ironman World record including the World Championship course record. There can be no doubt that Chrissie Wellington is the fastest living female Ironman competitor, and yet her journey from everyman to Ironman has not been easy, straightforward or without a painful personal struggle.
Chrissie showed up at the 2011 Ironman World Championships with road rash and a few other injuries that she let on about, but after you read her book, “A Life Without Limits”, you see her in a completely different light and realize she had more than road rash and some minor injuries to content with in 2011.
In the initial chapters, Chrissie explains about getting the nickname “Muppet” for doing the wrong things at the wrong time and her tendencies to injure herself. You find out about her eating issues, body image issues and growing up trying to take advantage of everything life has to offer.
Simply put, you don’t think of Chrissie Wellington as the Ironman terminator after reading her book. You see her as a real person that through life circumstances, found her way into triathlon.
Through reading the book, I personally do not view her as a win-hungry triathlete that will destroy herself to smash her competition. Chrissie comes across as a competitive and compassionate athlete, but grew up in the pro ranks in a very short amount of time. She now plays the head games well, but by no means is she out to destroy people. She’s out to be the best triathlete she can be held to her own standards and expectations. Usually that effort involves her winning a few races.
It’s a very telling book about how she came into triathlon and how she ascended to the top with some controversy and natural abilities. From her first “coach” at her local multisport club to her now Coach Dave Scott, you see how she has become the seemingly invincible athlete she is today and who influenced her the most.
You won’t get the gritty little details on her training plans. There is a chapter dedicated to her general training regiments, but you won’t get the secret training plans to her success. It’s more of a biography than a training manual. Besides, most of us can’t afford to leave our lives as they are to “train” in Nepal to get a substantial endurance base before competing in triathlons.
You will find out what goes through her mind at her big events and more insight into her love life than you thought was there. Once you start to understand the language barrier from English spoken in the US to English spoken in the UK, the book begins to flow and it’s hard to put it down.
Overall it was an entertaining read and a great window into what makes Chrissie Wellington. You find out more background details than forums, blogs, gossip articles and IM coverage can offer. It reads as an unfiltered look into a life that so many have made a mystery or made up their own versions of the truth. You find out she’s genuine when she stands at the finish line to hand out medals (as she did at Ironman Kansas 70.3 that I saw her in person 2 times – the race made the book!) It’s not just for looks to gain favor with the age groupers. She really cares.
It’s a very worthwhile read.
*Writer’s note, the publisher sent a complimentary copy of the book to read and review. They in no way influenced this review.
Ryan Falkenrath writes the blog falkeetriathlon.blogspot.com, married father of two young kids, owner of two dogs and trying to balance life, work and multisport. Ryan has participated in multisport events since 2001 from 5k's to Half Ironmans. Ryan is also the Kansas City Endurance Sports Examiner and you can read more of his triathlon thoughts HERE and he collects race reviews at www.Triathlon-Reviews.blogspot.com. Contact Ryan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on @TriJayhawkRyan.