"It was either fitness or board games, and I have already lost enough friends playing board games.”

If you ask us, the coolest thing about triathlon is that hours after the first-place finisher breaks the tape, winners are still crossing the line. Though much fanfare surrounds the jaw-dropping speed and unfathomable strength found in the professional fields, the age-groupers are the ones who quietly inspire. Need proof? Each of our cover finalist athletes exemplify the heart and soul of our sport: Everyday people doing extraordinary things. Meet our contest winner here, and then meet one of the other inspirational finalists below. 

Andrew Hanscom

Yuma, AZ

Ask 28 year-old Andrew Hanscom about his first triathlon in 2015, and you’ll get a short answer:

“No training, borrowed gear, missed turns on the bike and a lot of chafing.” Hanscom leans in and repeats, for emphasis: “A lot.”

Still, he was hooked. After serving in the Marine Corps, Hanscom–now a defense aerospace engineer–was missing the challenge and discipline of his time in the service. “I needed a challenge after the Marine Corps. I am competitive by nature and needed to find something to fill that need. It was either fitness or board games, and I have already lost enough friends playing board games.”

He threw himself into training full-bore. As an added challenge, he designated each race as a fundraiser for worthy causes, from veteran suicide prevention to fighting human trafficking. Setting goals on both fronts has not only required him to step up his game as an athlete, but in all aspects of his life, from graduate school to the impending arrival of his first child:

“Triathlon gives me other areas to focus on and improve on. In my experience when you begin to enhance areas of your training, areas of your life gain improvement as well. More than being a great triathlete I want to be a great person, a great friend, a great husband, and soon, a great dad.”

Meet more of our cover finalists