The unexpected athlete

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 07, 2011

Chrissie Wellington never really did sports growing up. Then, in her 20s, she started running and astonishingly soon after that, starting winning every Ironman triathlon she entered. Wellington’s body and mental focus turned out to be uniquely suited to endurance events.

Then at around 130km into the bike ride, with Sutton’s words “Don’t defer to anybody” ringing in her ears, she started moving up the pack. “I came up to the lead group of girls and instead of thinking: ‘These are the champions and the best in the world’, I just went straight past them.” Even so, Wellington never believed she would hold on. “Halfway through the marathon I still never thought I would win,” she says. “You know they are behind you and you never know what they are capable of. I was running scared the whole way, thinking: ‘They’ll catch me, they’ll catch me.’ But they just didn’t.”