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Athlete Profile: Aspiring Olympic Triathlete

A young, ambitious triathlete with limited race experience reaches out to Coach Andy Kirkland for help in making it to the Olympic Games in 2024.

Triathlete before an open-water swim

Dr. Kirkland, 

I’m writing you because I’d like you to coach me. I follow you on social media and like what you say about training. My goal is to be on the U.S. Olympic team for triathlon in 2024. I know this is a very high goal, but I think I can do it with your help. I’ll tell you why. 

I graduated from the University of Colorado last year with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science. In college I ran track and cross-country all four years. On the track I ran the 5000m and 10,000m. My best 10,000m time was 28:03 when I placed in the top 5 at our conference meet. In high school I ran track in the spring and was on the swim team in the fall season. I was the conference champion in two swim events my senior year—the 100m and 200m freestyle. 

After graduating I decided to do a triathlon. I borrowed a bike from a friend and won my age group. I’ve since gotten my own bike—not the best but good enough for amateur racing. I’ll soon have to find a sponsor, but there’s a bike shop that has expressed interest in helping me.  

I’ve now done four Olympic-distance triathlons and won my age group in each of them. My fastest time was 1:52:30. With a better bike, more saddle time, and your coaching, I’m pretty certain I could go under 1:50. Because I’m pretty good at swimming and running already, the bulk of my training has been on the bike. I’m starting to show some improvement. 

I’m highly motivated to race pro in the coming years. There won’t be much income at first, I know, but my parents, who are also triathletes, have promised to support me until I find sponsors. What I need most right now is a coach who can structure my training and guide me along the way. It will be a tough three years for both of us, but I feel certain I can pull it off. 

What else do you need to know? I’m happy to provide whatever you need.  

Thanks for considering working with me. 

Randy Burton