Friday, March 22, 2013

A spring surprise!

I did not know Mary Leliveld, but various sources on the internet tell me that she was an enthusiastic, talented runner, cyclist and age-group triathlete whose days of competition were cut way too short. She passed away, too young, at the age of 40 due to melanoma, but left behind her a legacy of inspiration.

Through Triathlon BC, the Mary Leliveld Fund finances a bursary to enable age-group triathletes to achieve their dreams through sport, and in particular, to help BC triathletes travel to Worlds.

Earlier this week, Triathlon BC announced that I am the 2013 recipient of the Mary Leliveld bursary. I feel grateful, humbled and appreciative. It is a privilege to be recognized, but also a challenge to live up to the expectation.

I would like to believe that I am the type of athlete envisioned when this fund was established – one who engages in the sport for the love of it. As a relative newbie to triathlon, I have been challenged without limit and feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to train and race for nearly four years.

In learning a little more about Mary Leliveld's life and legacy, I am reminded of the reason why I chose to and continue be a triathlete. The opportunity to compete for Canada at the ITU long-distance World Championship in June in Belfort, France is a privilege, to be certain, but it is not what drives me. Long-term, the goal is not the personal best or the time on the clock, not the bragging rights to a crazy workout and certainly not the finisher medal or the Kona slot. To the best of my knowledge, no one has ever inscribed their Ironman time on their gravestone (at least I would hope not!). In the long run, it matters not.

What matters most is how I feel. Being healthy. Feeling alive. Those way-too early alarm clocks, the long brick workouts in the rain and the fourteen loads of laundry per week have a higher purpose and a greater reward in store. It's quite possibly the perfect no one but me :)

I am a triathlete because swimming, biking and running to the best of my ability makes me happy, pure and simple. With any luck, I will be fortunate enough to continue to do so for years to come.

Huge thanks to Triathlon BC!

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