By Jen Gendron: Health & Wellness Coach
My heart was bursting last Sunday as I watched all of the amazing women crossing the finish line at the 11th Annual Hampton Ladies’ Triathlon! There is no way to describe just how incredible it is to watch the support and encouragement that prevails at this event – women supporting women to reach for goals that many never thought possible!
It is true that there are many “die hards” that participate in this event, those looking to break their personal records and push themselves to new levels but for the most part, the women who come out for this event are just “regular women” like you and me who are looking to take that next step to challenge themselves in a new way and the results are nothing short of amazing! This event allows for so many different options to enable women of all shapes, sizes, ages and fitness abilities to participate in any way they choose from completing the full event (which is a “sprint triathlon” with a 400 m swim, 20k bike ride and 5k run) to a duathlon, to team events where you can join with other women to complete one or two parts of the full event. It is a fantastic way for those who want to experience something new to dip their toe in competition or for women just looking for new ways to stay active and healthy to challenge themselves in new ways.
This is not a typical event as you watch women come across the finish line holding their children by the hands, meeting friends at the end to support them across the line and collapsing on the other side in the arms of their families and friends who have come out to cheer them on this incredible journey.
I first participated in this event back in 2012, doing the full triathlon despite being terrified of the swim. I conquered my fear and completed the race and the feeling of crossing that finish line knowing I had pushed myself just outside my comfort zone was overwhelming! I have since done the duathlon on another year and this year, for the first time, completed the event as a relay team with two amazing ladies who did the swim and run with me cycling in the middle. I have been experiencing some health issues that really held me back and slowed me down this year but despite this fact, I completed the ride and cheered my teammates on through their respective legs of the race and that same amazing feeling of accomplishment was there again!
For the past two years, I have had the privilege of coaching a group of amazing women to prepare for this event along with several other staff members of the Lifestyles team. We have worked with them to prepare for the cycling, running and swimming and it has been an honour and a true gift for me to watch these women work from start to finish to complete this race. They are mothers, wives, busy working women who take the time and make the commitment to work together to train and support each other each step of the way and the results are amazing! Not only do they challenge themselves to complete something they may have never thought possible, the friendships that develop are heartwarming and lasting.
I am filled with gratitude once again to be part of this amazing journey and can’t wait to do it all again next year! Thank you to the amazing crew of ladies that made up our training team this year and congratulations to all the women who took that step to challenge themselves, step out of their comfort zone and take part in this event. Women supporting women – there is no greater gift!