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After a very weird 2020, we’re (finally) now headed into 2021—but there are still a lot of questions left unanswered, in the world and in our sport. Who will help shape triathlon? Who are the people working in front of and behind the scenes to do exciting, new, or interesting things? Who should you keep your eye on in the next multisport year?
We racked our brains, scoured the tri-space, and came up with this varied list of multisport movers and shakers—all of whom we’re looking forward to watching in 2021. We can’t wait to see what they do and how they change the sport in the year ahead. We’ve been revealing one person at a time, but Active Pass members can view the entire list right now. Today we’re highlighting Gabriela Gallegos, an El Paso-based race director who has changed her community and the sport with her passion and efforts.
44 | El Paso, Texas
Race Director, Race El Paso, and USA Triathlon Board Member
How do we make triathlon feel more welcoming to all athletes? This is a question that has been pushed to the forefront in 2020, but there are only a few people—like Race El Paso race director Gabriela Gallegos—who have been quietly moving the sport forward through grassroots efforts.
Gallegos started the Mighty Mujer Triathlon after competing in a triathlon herself and then realizing her hometown of El Paso needed more opportunities to pursue an active lifestyle. Through super sprint triathlons for women, she’s changed the narrative and has helped women feel empowered by getting to the start line of her events. The races are short, but they’re still tough, and that’s the magic in the format: Experienced triathletes compete alongside new ones, and the result is an inspired community that shares their love of triathlon with others. Her series has grown—there would have been events in four different cities in 2020 and the series has also expanded to virtual events—but it’s Gallegos’ willingness to act locally and think globally that makes her impact spread.
She’s on the USA Triathlon board, she has spoken at several conferences, and she’s always willing to talk with up-and-coming race directors and triathlon industry members. In terms of her own race series, she wants to expand on the investment by getting people to the start line.
“It’s difficult and it’s not necessarily profit-driven,” she said of providing free community events in the lead-up to a race. “But that’s where we’ve really developed triathletes … Those kind of organic community building events are part of why I think Mighty Mujer has grown and that’s also how I think you reach communities of color because so many social groups are somewhat segregated. People invite their friends and a lot of times their friends look like them. Then you see groups pulled in in a way that you can’t necessarily do organized outreach for.”