“It was the most amazing moment,” Laws says of her 2014 finish at Ironman Lake Placid. “It’s my favorite triathlon moment to date.”

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. 

Lisa Laws

New York, NY

54 year-old Lisa Laws was looking for a challenge beyond “just running” when she signed up for her first triathlon, the 2013 Long Island Mighty Mini Man. Just one year later, she was crossing the finish line of her first Ironman.

“It was the most amazing moment,” Laws says of her 2014 finish at Ironman Lake Placid. “It’s my favorite triathlon moment to date.”

Her enthusiasm for swim, bike, and run is infectious, making her an ideal role model for new triathletes. “Lisa has been my role model since our first interaction,” says friend and training partner Shekera, who nominated Laws for the 2018 Triathlete Cover Contest. “She has shown me that not only is this sport open to diversity but that African-American women can and do excel in the world of triathlon.”

It’s a role Laws takes seriously, mentoring new athletes in the sport in a way that sets them up for success in all aspects of life. Some of her most important lessons go beyond swim-bike-run. “Triathlon has helped me manage my time better,” says Laws. “Everything I do is on a schedule. My work/training/life balance is more manageable, because each has to be given the same amount of attention.”

“She teaches not only physical endurance but mental endurance as well. She lives the triathlon life and is more than happy to show others how to do the same,” says Shekera. “She leads by example. She calls herself the Lone Wolf, but she truly leads a pack of women who have come to love the sport and compete at every level.”

Meet more of our cover finalists