Throughout my life, I've learned through both miraculous triumphs and devastating tragedy that the IRONMAN Mantra is true - anything is possible!
Over the past 3 years, I’ve been inspired to tri for a cause. I have raised over $30,000 for The Leukemia Lymphoma Society with Team in Training, and have grown to love IRONMAN events through race experiences at Vineman 70.3, Hawaii 70.3 and IRONMAN Canada. Recently my Dr. told me no more running, not if I want to walk normally at 40. However, he gave me one last go when I explained why trying to earn a slot to Kona was important. This time, things are different and my inspiration comes not from a personal goal, but from one person. Marisela Echeverria. My friend. My teammate.
Through the Kona Inspired Contest, I‘ve been honored to share Mari’s story of both inspiration and heartbreak, while touching so many hearts worldwide. Best of all, winning a coveted slot to Kona will help me fulfill Mari’s so deserved IRONMAN dream and honor her memory.
We lost dear Mari in a cycling accident on the afternoon of October 13, 2012, the same day as the Kona World Championship 2012. She was training for her first Ironman (IMAZ), and her second attempt to race, after losing her father the night before our originally planned big day at Ironman Canada the August prior. Sadly, these were tragic reminders that anything is possible.
After completing Vineman 70.3 together in 2011, Mari played an integral part in convincing me to register for IRONMAN Canada. In the first months of our new season, I had arranged a viewing party for our team to watch the World Championship broadcast together. Completely oblivious to it at the time, it was there that Kona seed was planted. My Coach teased, “Kelly, you could probably get into Kona through a media slot. I mean, you are on one of the most well-known, longest running T.V. shows in American history!” I had no idea what he was talking about at first. I laughed it off because my team loves to tease me about my job on the Jeopardy! Clue Crew. However, dear Marisela would not let it go! She kept saying, “Kelly, you have to try! I mean, if someone has a chance to do Kona, you HAVE TO, right? I would give anything to do it!” At this point, IM Canada was a distant dream to me. I was still getting used to the idea that I had committed to train for a full IRONMAN at all. I was definitely not thinking about the World Championship ever being a reality! I joked with Mari, “Yeah, ok…then I’ll do it, if you do it. Deal?” She undoubtedly promised, if she could get in, she would. Regardless, she promised to be there to cheer for me if I ever got in. I laughed, and we made a deal.
I plan to make good on that deal in October. Despite my apprehensions, Mari lived by the saying, “If you aren’t scaring yourself, you’re doing it wrong.” So, I must be doing something right. Not only do I want to keep my promise to Marisela, and do this for her, I know she will also keep her end of the deal, and be there to cheer me on. This is one of the biggest honors of my life; my final IRONMAN amidst the world’s best triathletes to keep a promise and celebrate the memory of my dear friend. I can’t imagine a better way to honor Mari for the 1 year anniversary of her passing.
Through this journey to Kona, I will fundraise for the charity that brought my life & Mari’s together; The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. TEAM in Training has changed my life for the better, and I will be forever grateful. GO TEAM!
Thank you for your your support! xo
CR Impact Points
Click the VOTE button to give Kelly 100 CrowdRise Impact Points (CIPs). Vote for the Volunteers and Fundraisers that are answering the call to service, raising money for charity, and making an impact for their causes. Come back and Vote every months. CIPs can earn you the highly coveted, highly respected CrowdRise Royalty Status.
CR Impact Points
If you're seeing the grey VOTE button, you should feel great about yourself. It means you already voted for Kelly this month. Come back next month and vote again if you still love Kelly. Thanks to your vote, Kelly earned 100 CrowdRise Impact Points (CIPs). CIPs can earn you the highly coveted, highly respected CrowdRise Royalty Status.