A warm-hearted congratulations to our Reader Cover Contest winner Anita Coyle of Farmington, Utah. She was nominated by Scott Christley, who described Anita as “tenacious, hilarious, and a survivor.”
She received the most votes and her story won our editors over. She will take part in a special experience, including a professional photo shoot complete with some sweet gear. Read Scott’s submission below and find Anita on the cover of our May/June 2020 issue.
Recently widowed mom and cancer survivor competes at world off-road triathlon championship and wins the Warrior Award: This is the amazing story of our dear friend and former neighbor, Anita. She exemplifies lifting up the people you love through humor, encouragement, and inspiration.
Anita and Jason embody the mantra of living life to the fullest: outdoor enthusiasts, endurance athletes, road-trippers, and crazy entrepreneurs. Jason, her dear husband, tragically and suddenly passed away 13 months ago from a rare, unknown heart valve defect (bicuspic aortic valve) after swimming six miles a few days before. He was a well-loved English teacher at Bountiful Jr. High School in Utah. This happened the day after Anita had surgery for thyroid cancer (oncocytic follicular caricinoma, sometimes called Hurthle cell carcinoma).
Anita is an ultra-athlete herself and now a young widowed mother of four kids, ages 2-13. In an effort to keep her husband’s memories alive and document her grief journey, Anita started an Instagram account, “Racing from the Ashes.” She wanted a way her friends could follow her misadventures in solo parenting, widowhood, and triathlon training. “My world crumbled, then the rubble caught fire. I’m racing from the ashes of my life. Documenting my grief journey and my attempt at Xterra Worlds.”
Anita is one of the funniest people we know and can have you laughing and crying in the same post. She is simply amazing. She is real and raw and unfiltered, which makes you love her all the more. Anita wrote, “I was also interested in reaching out to others struggling, not only with grief, but any other challenge, to offer support and inspiration.”
Well, despite the odds and the incredible obstacles in her training, Anita placed at the Xterra Pan-Am Championships in September and qualified for the Xterra World Championship in Maui, Hawaii. The night before the race, in late October, Anita was floored when she received the 2019 Dave Desantis Xterra Warrior Award “in honor of her exemplary courage in the face of adversity.”
It would mean the world if Anita was able to share her story, her hope, her humor and her love with many more people as she passes the one-year anniversary of her husband’s passing. Thanks for taking the time to learn some of her heart-warming story.