For many triathletes, the act of swim-bike-run is more than physical–it’s a way to build confidence, gain clarity, or find peace in body and mind. For members of The Unbreakables, these mental aspects are at the core of why they tri.
The Unbreakables triathlon club is made up of 80 athletes from all over the world, each with a unique story of an unbreakable spirit: overcoming addiction, successfully losing large amounts of weight, taking on the daily challenges of mental health issues, recovering from tragic bike accidents, or finding a second chance at life with a heart transplant. Through a shared love of triathlon, club members support each other in the challenges they face in training and in life and celebrate their unbreakable spirit. Every Sunday, team members meet via Zoom to share successes, talk through failures, and provide support through words and actions.
“I am most proud of everyone’s willingness to be vulnerable, share stories, and admit to weakness,” said founder Rob Archuleta. “To get up and say I struggle with depression or an eating disorder is difficult.”
The team is a spinoff of Archuleta’s organization, Addict2Athlete, a support group that uses physical activity as a means for recovery from addiction. The success of that group led Archuleta to develop The Unbreakables for those who were recovering from trauma.
“It was essential to start this club to have an opportunity to support each other,” said Archuleta. “Some of us are still going through traumas, and will for the rest of our lives.”
The team’s mission–to inspire others to become Unbreakable by sharing stories of resiliency, endurance, and passion for fitness–resonated with member Molly Cain. For more than 8 years, Cain has worked hard to recover from a traumatic brain injury sustained after a fall in her Colorado home. While coming back from coma and paralysis, she longed for success stories to give her hope it could be done. Joining the Unbreakables not only gives her a daily dose of inspiration, but allows her to share her success story with others; today, Cain is training for her first Ironman triathlon.
“Triathlon saved my life by giving me life, purpose, and the power to overcome all defeat and pain by the power of my mind,” said Cain. “Being part of this team allows me to understand that I am not alone. There are others who battle and face life’s obstacles daily, too, and make the conscious decision to overcome every single day, no matter what the block is because we understand and know that pain is only temporary.”
“I wanted to do something that was all-inclusive; a team of unbreakable people who have been through traumatic experiences, but still manage to run, bike, and swim as a means to wellness,” said Archuleta. “We all have one common denominator in that we have managed to suffer well through our traumas as well as our endurance races.”
See also: Get to know other triathlon clubs