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Westchaser Heads to Ironman World Championships

In December Harbor Links resident Yelena Maloney qualified for her third Ironman 70.3 World Championship.

The event will be held Sept. 7 in Nice, France. An Ironman Triathlon consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a marathon (26.22-mile) run, raced in that order and without a break. Maloney competed in the event previously in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa, and Chattanooga, Tennessee.

And while she was immediately hooked on triathlons, after competing in a shorter sprint one in 2015, it took her longer to become as enthusiastic about the Ironman competitions, “My first ironman event was in Augusta in September of 2016. When I finished it, I said, ‘I would never ever do anything like that again.’ [The] next year I did four of these events to eventually qualify for the World Championship in Chattanooga.”

The September Ironman will be Yelena’s 12th.

To make this all more amazing, Yelena, who grew up in Belarus and moved to Florida 23 years ago, did not know how to swim when she first started, “I did not grow up swimming and in 2015 couldn't even make it across the pool, so swimming is a work in progress for me.”

“I have a coach and he prescribes my workouts but generally speaking I do strength and conditioning with him at the gym twice a week, and the rest of the time is spent swimming, biking and running.” She added, “I have many triathlete friends in the area and my coach lives in Westchase so we train together often which is great.”

Yelena credits her son, Liam, for initially piquing her interest in triathlons and says that now her family of five is hooked, “My whole family competes in triathlons. My oldest son who is now 12 was the first one in the family to do a triathlon when he was just shy of 6 years old. Since then he has annually competed in many kids triathlons. My husband does not compete as often but he just did his first full Ironman.”

In September they’ll all be in France to cheer Yelena on.

By Marcy Sanford

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