Endurance Podcasts Podcasts

ROO #138: Karen Smyers on How Passion Beat Cancer and Ironman

“I believe that you can fit everything in your life the way you want and still get better. It’s just how you structure your training to get better.” 

In this episode, Karen Smyers, world class triathlete, coach, mother, race director, and cancer survivor, tells the story of how passion allowed her to persevere through cancer, injury, and setbacks to have one of the most historic triathlon careers. Karen is the only woman ever to win the 1995 Hawaiian Ironman World Championship and the short course World Championship in the same year. Karen discusses her athletic background as a competitive swimmer and her introduction to running at Princeton University. She explains how she unexpectedly made the transition to professional triathlon. Karen provides insight on how the power of passionate positivity allowed her to overcome numerous setbacks, including a freak accident that sliced her hamstring, being struck by an 18-wheel truck on her bike, another bike accident during an important race, and her battle with thyroid cancer. She reveals her relationship with triathlon now, from the challenges she faces during a race to her experience as a triathlon coach. Karen reflects on the growth of triathlon in the USA and shares her upcoming athletic goals.

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