From There To Here: My Triathlon...And More Story


Posted by Coach Mark Turner



Every triathlete has a story of what brought them to the sport. My story has an interesting beginning. I fell in love with triathlon fairly early in the history of the sport. I was a volunteer at one of the Bud Light series tris back in the late 80's and was captivated by what I saw. I started training to do the triathlon the next year but fell ill shortly before the race. I was misdiagnosed with a disease that it turned out I didn't have. Instead I simply had asthma and an attack had come on due to a change in the weather exacerbated by some allergies.



I ended up not only putting triathlon on hold but fitness in general for the next 20 years. But throughout all that time I never lost my obsession with triathlon. Once my asthma was diagnosed, I began to turn the corner on being constantly ill. I started running again on December 31, 2007 with the intention of running a half marathon in the Spring. I weighed 250 + pounds with a 42 inch waist and I ran and walked.


By the following June I made a promise to myself that I would complete an IRONMAN by the time I reached 55. Well, I am 53 and, to date, I have completed 3 IRONMAN distance races, 5 IRONMAN 70.3 races, multiple marathons and half marathons, and Olympic and Sprint triathlons. Through all those years I never lost my dream, even when it seemed out of reach. Now as a coach, doing what I not only love but believe I am meant to do, I want to help others realize their dreams both in the sport of triathlon and in life!



People ask me how I did it. How did I go from the 250 plus weight and a 42 inch waist to 165 and a 30 inch waist? How did I go from thinking I would be heavy forever to getting back the athletic (though older) body I had always had prior to the misdiagnosis?



The answer is that I began to do what Dan Waldschmidt says in the quote above: I began asking myself hard uncomfortable questions. And I did not like the answers. So I made a decision to change. I have used that same process to make other changes in my life in the past few years and the future has never been as bright for me. That doesn't mean that change is easy. It isn't. But it is the only way to get from where you are to where you want to be. Change born out of asking myself the hard questions is what got me from there to here. It is hard but it is worth it to be here and not there!

~Coach MarkT (from

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