I started tri’s in 2013 and fell hook, line and sinker. Jumped straight to full Ironman’s in 2014 in honor of my sister who was fighting Ovarian Cancer. We used my Ironman races to raise money for the OCRFA and successfully raised over $45K that last three years for research. My sister always fueled my training and racing, as what I go through to train is nothing compared to what my hero went through fighting her cancer.
She has been with me during every full Ironman race with our last one being in Cozumel 2015. I crashed my bike 10 days before Boulder last year and lost 2 months’ worth of training this year for Boulder as my sister was making her journey to heaven which I spent with her. It was our last race together, getting her to heaven ready to be happy and healthy again. During her journey, I asked her three times if she wanted me to race one more full Ironman in her memory as we knew she was not coming home this time as did she. She would never answer my question except to say she needed to think about. When she became an angel on April 9th I told my parents I would race again since that was something special that Dawn & I did together plus they scare my dad.
Fast forward 5 weeks after my sister finished her journey I received an answer to my only unfinished conversation with my sister as I was walking into my grief counseling. Cris Howard who had watched our Ironman and cancer journey had presented our story to the Women for Tri board who in turned offered me a slot to race Kona this year in memory of my sister. After discussing with my parents I accepted the offer as God was working in mysterious ways to finish our only unfinished sister conversation. I looked at it as my sister finally saying, ” yes little sister, please race one more time and make it the big dance that we always wanted to get to someday together.” So I accepted the race slot and raised the required $40,000.
As of today I have raised $42,029 to help other women get into the sport I so love and has helped me heal again with losing my sister. We all know the journey to line up is the best part of a full Ironman and the journey has been very healing for me. Kona will be my last Ironman (I know in our sport it hard to say we will never do it again) but it’s highly unlikely for me. Kona will be a bittersweet day for me without my sister cheering me on all day and waiting to get her picture taken with me at the finish line while I get her my medal as she always got them all. I do however know she will be sitting on my shoulder all day as my very special guardian angel on 10/14.
By Jessica McWhirt February 2, 2024--Imagine stepping outside in the morning. In March. In bib shorts and a...