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For this year’s cover contest, nine triathletes wrote in about the impact coach Skip Slade has on their training and life. Presenting their nominations.
Coach Skip is my hero. When I did my first triathlon I struggled as many do by underestimating the sport. My second race was through Team Challenge and coach Skip (with his wife Linda). That season changed my life. I went from a guy trying to do a triathlon to becoming a triathlete, and Ironman and eventually also a coach. On top of being an amazing person that grooms people or all ages and abilities into accomplished triathletes, Skip is an accomplished triathlete himself in spite of having been gravely ill in the past and having much of his digestive system removed due to life threatening complications of IBD. No one I have met through the amazing triathlon community deserves recognition more than this man! -Kevin Soehner
Skip is the triathlon coach for the Team Challenge San Diego triathlon teams. The best way to tell his story is to hear his wife, Linda, give her team speech about how Skip went from barely alive with Crohn’s Disease, to becoming the first patient in San Diego to get the surgery, to completing his first tri on a mountain bike, to many more on better bikes, to now having completed several Ironmans. He embodies the spirit of triathlon and good humans. He’s so competitive and giving at the same time. He’s changed the lives of so many and never, not once, complains about his disease. I can’t say enough about him. -Caitlyn Pilkington
This is about my coach Skip Slade! He is one of the most passionate, inspirational, determined and dedicated I know and to whom I am honored to call my coach! He not only coaches triathletes he himself takes on ironman after ironman in the ever longing attempt at success! His story with ulcerative colitis brings inspiration to me and so many who also battle these diseases. Skips strength and positivity bring both him and his athletes to the finish line. Joy and gratitude are two words that Skip lives by and that he teaches all of us. Have joy and gratitude a in all we do! He inspires to move forward, face fears, and encourages us through his actions that anything is possible. When I think of the definition of triathlon I think of Coach Skip Slade! Even when its a tough race Skip have a smile on his face, he truly embraces the suck and turns it into joy for all to see. If there were one person to celebrate in their triathlon accomplishments, encouragements, and determination it is Skip Slade, coach at Slade Coaching and training, teammate, and friend!! -Genna Boragine
Skip is such an amazing athlete and coach. He has done nine Ironmans and coached many of us to our first crossing of that Ironman finishline. He has also helped me newbies cross the finishline of their very first tri. He suffers from UC, but never lets that stop him. He is an amazing ambassador for Team Challenge in all that he does. But he is also a badass on the course. He almost always is in the top 5 or 10 of his age group. He always races with joy and gratitude, and has given so many of us the love of triathlon. -Bev Hess
Triathlon has come to mean a lot me, culminating and finishing IMAZ 2016. I started with Olympic, 70.3 (3 times) and finally IMAZ 2016… I did all my Training for Team Challenge, the Athletic Team for the CCFA. My Wife has Crohn’s, hence this connection. The Coach at Team Challenge Skip Slade (Colitis Patient) and 9 x Ironman changed my life, he took me from a non swimmer and someone who hadn’t cycled for 30 years into a Triathlete. His passion, energy and patience for every one of his students is amazing. I am one of literally 100’s, most likely 1000’s of Triathlete’s ‘home grown by Skip…. What is most significant is how he taught me compete with joy and gratitude….. I wholeheartedly nominate this quiet unsung hero of San Diego Triathlon…… He is a jewel in San Diego’s Triathlon scene! -Chris Holcroft
Coach Skip is an awesome triathlon coach who takes the time to get to know each one of his athletes and tailors their training program to their specific needs. But he’s more than that. Being a triathlete himself he understands the hard work and dedication involved in triathlons and brings those qualities to his work. I’ve been training with Skip for two years now. I couldn’t think of a better coach, trainer or friend to guide me through the process! -Anonymous
I first met Skip Slade at the Team Challenge TriRock information meeting. He spoke about his first triathlon and his “rookie” mistakes. Fast forward to 2016 and he has now completed more Ironman races than I can count. His dedication to the sport is inspiring and the dedication that he has to his athletes is astounding. He meets his athletes where they’re at and builds them up from there. I have personally seen athletes be intimidated by the sport but with Skip’s guidance and support, they have flourished to be Ironman finishers. Skip may not want to admit this but when it comes to triathlons he is greater than the invention of sliced bread! -Anonymous
Skip Slade is a phenomenal athlete, Ironman and coach. He inspires many others to have passion for triathlon and to race with gratitude and joy in your heart. -Anonymous
Participate with joy and gratitude. This is Skip Slade’s mantra for coaching, competition and life. It is the way he competes in his own triathlons and how he coaches others. When you get to know coach Skip Slade you begin to understand how he uses the competition of triathlons to be a guide for everything in life. What triathlon means to him is the joy of being with his tribe. Triathlon means learning to overcome obstacles. Triathlon means sharing experiences and growing. Triathlon is a way for Skip to share his joy and gratitude for life for health, for friendship. Triathlon is way more than just a competition but a way to teach others what their potential is. It becomes a metaphor. Triathlon to Skip is a way to be positive about life. -Anonymous