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Looking for some love-inspiration on this Valentine’s Day? Based on our experience in the sport, triathlon has brought together many couples. (Check out the cake from former editor-in-chief Erin Beresini’s wedding to husband, Jimmy!)
We asked our readers to share how triathlon led them to love and we received several awww-inducing responses. Happy Valentine’s Day from everyone at Triathlete!
Anne S. & Scott S.
Time together: 5 years
Scott and I met right after I began training for IM Coeur D’Alene in 2014. He walked into Starbucks one morning (I was with my parents) and when I noticed his M-dot tattoos on his calf, I had to strike up a conversation with him. I wasn’t looking for a date (Hello IM training!) but just someone to talk to and ask questions about what I had gotten myself in to. We exchanged numbers and I left (leaving him with my parents) to hit the road for a weekend road trip. A few months later, I reached out for some advice which he quickly answered. At that time Scott was running a business in Seattle, living in Kansas City part-time and sharing the remaining time in Arizona, so it was a small miracle we had even met! As training progressed, he joined when he was in town and offered a ton of support. During those long hours, I quickly realized that he was the one I wanted at IM with me and he was the only one that would understand the process and the day. Besides my kids and my parents, he was the one I needed to help get me through it.
Triathlon is now our life. We own Playtri Kansas City (2017) and have been married for almost a year. We run our business, train, support, coach and love each other more than the day we met! I’m thankful that triathlon has brought us together because I couldn’t do any of this without him!
Angelina V. & Fabian C.
Time together: 8 years, 6 months
In 2009 we both raced IM Cozumel and that’s where he saw me for the first time and fell in love. We have some friends in common that introduced us, but we began dating a year later. He took me for our first date to a mountain nearby that is over 4,000 meters above sea level, we did a six-hour trekking course and we’ve been together ever since. At first we both had different races, but we started training together and that’s what really made us connect as a couple. We shared a passion for a sport and a commitment to it that made it so easy to do it together. We raced together for the first time at IM Florida (it was my 3rd IM and around his 12th) and he proposed at the finish line. We got married a year later (2012) and went on our honeymoon to Canada and of course we raced IM Mont Tremblant as part of it. We raced for a couple of years and then I got pregnant. We have now a daughter (2 years 9 months) and as he keeps on doing Ironmans (he has done 22 now and 2 more this year) and we keep on running together (marathons and 1/2 marathons because of our daughter), triathlon just brings our family closer together and makes us stronger as a couple. And we hope one day the three of us can race together because for us, a family that trains together, stays together.
Rebeccah W. & John H.
New York, New York
Time together: 14 years
We may never have met without triathlon. I was just getting into the sport and attended nationals as an age grouper. I met some fellow team USA teammates from New York, who took note that I was single and at the race by myself. A few days later one of those friends suggested I come to a group ride in Central Park. That same friend suggested that John come to the ride too. We only chatted briefly at the end of the ride, but John tracked me down at my work a few days later and the rest (three kids and a dog) is history. John even converted to a triathlete for me and qualified for Kona.
Maria S. and Eric M.
Time together: 149 days
On Thursday, Sept. 13 I “friended” Eric’s private Facebook profile after seeing his name on the Ironman Singles page. Not actively looking to date, we each joined IMS from friends’ suggestions.
Knowing the answer is “no,” he messaged “Have we met?” The conversation lasted all day. Then he asked me out. Having described him as an older doctor with two kids, my friends said “absolutely not,” given his surface-level similarities to an ex. Not being of the dating world, thinking my friends know better, I reluctantly declined. That conversation didn’t end positively.
I stuck with friends’ advice and didn’t message him, planning to forget it, keep training, working, and spending time with friends until I wanted to date.
Since I couldn’t shake my interest, I texted Eric (a veterinarian) about my 15lb cat, which later became known as the “fat cat conversation.” We texted all day, into the night. I craved to meet him. Sunday, conversations turned deeply personal. He mistyped “dare” and taking advantage of the typo “date,” I said I wouldn’t object again.
We scheduled for Wednesday, but by Monday that felt far away. He invited me for wine that evening. He kissed me before we ever spoke. My last first kiss. My heart was already his. We had the perfect pre-first-date date. We talked until 3 a.m. By Friday, we were at “I love you.” The following week, Eric registered for July’s IMLP with me. We became inseparable outside of daily responsibilities.
We had IMs the following weekend: Eric, Ironman Maryland (Sat 9/29) and I, Chattanooga (Sun 9/30). Eric’s efforts went above and beyond to support my race. He sent flowers to my hotel room. He drove home three hours immediately after crossing the IMMD140.6 finish line, flew Philly to Atlanta three hours later, then drove three hours to Chattanooga. He walked with me my second 13.1 (10 hours after his 140.6) to the finisher-shoot and we drove home next day. Our first adventure trip was perfect.
We Zwift or swim together when time permits, motivate each other to train when it doesn’t. I feel incredibly loved, respected, and appreciated. Among endless wonderful qualities, Eric is selfless, hard-working, considerate, and supportive—truly a beautiful person, inside and out. We’re moving together to Old City (+2kids/+2cats/+2dogs) the day after Valentine’s Day, excited to start our life together.
Joe C. & David L.
Time together: 10 years
Since I couldn’t race, I was on the sidelines cheering for a friend in 2009 at the Lee’s trail triathlon (a charity try-a-tri race organized by a LGBT swim club in Vancouver I was part of). David, my now husband, set up in transition next to my friend, so they chit chatted for a bit and wished each other good luck. After the race I was talking to my friend when David came to congratulate him and see how his race went. We were all talking when another friend came to invite us all to join him for brunch with his running teammates. Luck had it that David and I ended up sitting across from each other, so the whole brunch was us talking. Before leaving the restaurant, I asked if he’d be up for a drink later on since he was visiting from Seattle. He upped the ante and suggested dinner. Next thing I knew I was on a date… we hit it off right away and started dating, training and racing triathlons together each time we could. Always supporting and encouraging each other. We’ve traveled together to several 70.3 races and make our own training camps.
The rest is history. We got married in 2014 and live happily in Vancouver. We still train and share many racing goals together. And when we race in the same age group, that’s when things get real! 😉
Heather P. & Brian W.
Time together: 1 year
We met at a bicycle-themed bar in Washington D.C. called Bar Roubaix. A mutual friend of ours invited Brian to the happy hour and I was the last one to arrive. I immediately went to sit next to this handsome stranger and we started chatting about Masters swim programs. I friended him on Facebook that night and he sent me the swimming information and for the next four days, we texted non-stop. On New Year’s Day, we had our first date which ended up lasting all day long. 018 was filled with countless hours of training and racing together and we just celebrated our first anniversary. We encourage (and push) each other to be our best selves and athletes and I am so thankful that we met through the tri community when we did. I never believed in soulmates, but I feel that I was meant to be with Brian. Triathlon brought us together and it has made us stronger both as individuals and as a couple!
Summer D. & Ben D.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Time together: 2.5 years
The first time I met Ben he was a gangly, bushy haired freshman in high school, trying to eat a dead jelly fish off the shores of the Outer Banks. He was light-hearted and a little ridiculous. I was a sophomore who had just moved to town and was just trying to make my way on to the tight-knit high school cross country team. I thought he was pretty cute.
High school rolled on by and we were friends but never very close. We rolled with different crowds, although similar in interests. For me, college came and went and I graduated from George Mason University with my nursing degree. I set out to start adulting in the world, not knowing what was ahead. Ben was at Columbia University, two years behind me (he took a year off to train sled dogs in Maine) and set to graduate in 2017.
The summer before Ben’s senior year we were both invited to a mutual friend’s birthday party at my house. Ben showed up 45 minutes early, in bike shorts and his cycling gear. With the unexpected arrival I had no time to shower and was a little annoyed. But he was so cute and so fun, and so we caught up and talked about the triathlon he was training for. At this point I had never really done a triathlon and was curious about how it all worked. We discovered we were also both invited to a mutual friend’s wedding later that month and I sneakily asked if he wanted to carpool. He said yes to the carpool and then took that to mean we would hang out together at the wedding the whole time.
Ben was a little hard to read at first and honestly, I felt I really needed to impress him while we were “just talking” because he has just won that triathlon he was training for. I had the weekend off (a rarity) so I found a local triathlon and signed up the morning of. I had been running six days a week but had no training for the swim or bike. I decided to just go for it and tell Ben about it afterwards. I got second overall by six seconds (I was pretty mad about that) and snapchatted Ben a picture of the wine I won after saying we should drink it when he got back to town. He was so surprised when I said the wine was from the race. From then on, he was a little less hard to read, I had managed to capture his full attention. We have since trained and raced together and continue to enjoy the sport that brought us together in the first place. We are now married and live and train in Albuquerque, N.M.
Javier S. & Jennifer R.
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Time together: 1.5 years
We met two days before a marathon in Santo Domingo. We were at the park where most people in our city run. I saw this pretty lady, and approached her, asking her “is this your first marathon?” and she said, kind of mocking me “no, my second, and I’ve done an ultra.” We both laughed and exchanged numbers after that. We got married exactly a year after that (and ran a 30k that day)!