Meet new coach Liesl Begnaud

May
30

Liesl Begnaud is a USA Triathlon Level 1 coach and has been racing endurance sports for over 13 years. She splits time between Denver, Colorado and Clermont, Florida. Coach Liesl is a two-time IRONMAN finisher (IM Arizona in 2009 and IM Coeur d'Alene in 2011) and has completed numerous marathons, cycling events and has multiple triathlon age group podium finishes. She has assisted with Challenge Athletes Foundation and been active with multiple Triathlon clubs and teams. Prior to joining Team MPI, Liesl worked as a social worker with persons with disabilities and special needs. She can be reached at liesl@teammpi.com.

 

Tell us a bit about you!

I'm a Colorado Native and the mountains are my happy place. I love camping, hiking, anything outdoors. 

 

 

When/how did you first become involved in the sport of triathlon?

My first ever triathlon was in 2003 - a sprint relay. I was the bike leg on a mountain bike. After running marathons and doing century rides, I got bored and so I decided to add the swimming.  I joined an all women's triathlon team and learned how to swim. I like the challenge of putting all three sports together and the variety of doing different sports.

 

 

What was your athletic background growing up?

I started playing softball at age 12, and played on a competitive team into college.  In high school, I played volleyball, basketball, soccer and ran track.

 

What has been one of your most memorable races and why?

IRONMAN Arizona! Nothing beats the feeling of crossing the finish line after 140.6 miles on your own. It was a great weather day, I enjoyed the race, and I was very well trained and confident. I had no injuries, my nutrition was good, and there was great support.

 

What are your main races this year?

Harvest Moon 1/2 AquaBike, Boulder, CO

 

What motivated you to get your coaching certification?

I attended some of the Paratriathlon Symposium in Sept. 2015 and Travis Ricks motivated me to get my certification particularly since I knew I wanted to work with paratriathletes.

 

What drew you to Team MPI? 

Team MPI hosted/coached  the CAF paratriathlon camp in May and I really wanted to volunteer and learn as much as I could about coaching and paratriathlon. The coaching mentoring at Team MPI is awesome and learning from a team of coaches is very encouraging.

 

What excites you the most about coaching athletes? 

I love to see an athlete learn a new skill and be successful with implementing it.  I am drawn to work with paratriathletes learning to race, and also to new triathletes finding their way in the sport.

 

Do you find yourself naturally coaching/encouraging athletes along the course?

It depends on the race and my goals for it. If I am trying to PR, place or win, I don't generally talk to anyone except to thank the volunteers and police.  If it is a less intense race or longer distance race, I encourage everyone!

 

How has your background in social work and ministry influenced the way you see yourself as a coach, or your coaching philosophies?  

Encouraging confidence, building self esteem, persistence and adaptation are all key aspects to what I believe and teach for anyone trying a new sport or learning a new behavior or adapting to a new reality. As a social worker and in Ministry, I also believe and preach that ANYTHING is Possible. Hard work and determination are required to change or succeed.

 

You have managed a number volunteer projects and programs. How important do you see volunteering? 

Yes, all triathletes should "give back" and volunteer. Athletes  have first hand understanding how to serve the racer/participant out on a course and what is needed. Races don't happen without volunteers and everyone has something to offer.

 

How do you see the role of sport/multisport in the community?

It's important to encourage healthy living with sports/multisports.  These kinds of opportunities to be on a team and get involved need to be offered to all persons regardless of disability.  Adaptive sports can be very expensive and part of the role of the USAT and community is to help reduce the economic barriers to participate in sports.  Education is also a key role to help the community understand how to reduce barriers for sports participation.

 

I'm very excited to be given the opportunity to coach with Team MPI and to coach athletes in a sport that I love!

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