Athlete of the Month – Maureen Kennedy
D3: Tell us a little about your sports background as a kid and adult.
MK: As a child I played soccer and baseball. I was one of just a few girls that played in the two leagues. In high school I ran cross-country and track. I also swam a few summers on a summer swim team, just to keep in shape for cross-country. In college I rode in the Little 500 bike race at Indiana University. I got back into running after my daughter was born and then tried my hand at triathlons a few years after my second child was born.
D3: Tell us a little about your family and if they enjoy being active like you? Do you do any of these things together?
MK: I am married and have two children. My daughter heads off to college this year and my son is 11 years old. My son and I have run a couple of 5K’s together. In college I met my husband at the local bike shop, he was a manager there at the time. We do ride together sometimes and occasionally he convinces me to mountain bike.
D3: What is your favorite race distance and your favorite race moment with your family being there to cheer you on?
MK: This is a tough question. I know it is NOT Olympic Distance, the 10K kills me. I really enjoy sprints because I tend to place better at them than I do longer distance races but I have really loved the two Ironman races I have done.
Both Ironman races my family followed me around throughout the day and to see them every hour or so on the bike always raised my spirit. Because of how Louisville is laid out, it was possible for them to ride their bikes through much of the run course and so the emotional support they gave me during the event was incredible. But to see their smiling faces at the finish is definitely the best!
D3: How did you get involved in triathlon and how long have you been involved in the sport?
MK: A friend of mine convinced me to try a local sprint triathlon before getting into a fall marathon training program, he said it would be good training. That was in 2003. As soon as I finished the race (I did better than I thought I would) I was in love with triathlons and was committed to doing more the following year. I have done races every year since then, except last year when I wasn’t able to race due to injury and then a trip out of the country.
D3: Who is your coach and how long have you been working together?
MK: Amy is my coach. I have been working with her since the spring of 2007. I had signed up for an IM but had some nagging injuries. My doctor recommended getting a coach to help me figure out training for an IM with the injury I had. Amy lives locally and I had known her before this time through our membership in a local triathlon club. I have loved working with Amy!
D3: What are your other hobbies?
MK: I tend to keep busy with my children’s activities. I try to help out at their school with volunteer work. I volunteer with my church’s assistance program, helping local residents with their bills. Reading, when not falling asleep because I had to be up at 4:45 to train. But mostly just being with my family.
D3: What are your racing plans for the rest of this year?
MK: I’m going to focus on sprints this year. I wasn’t able to race last year and so I have been looking forward to just getting back to racing this year. I do have a 15K race planned in early September and then my step out of my comfort zone race – the Iceman MTB race in northern Michigan in early November.
D3: What is your job and what do you do?
MK: I work full-time for Indiana University South Bend in the library. I also, on the side, teach group fitness classes – usually 3-5 per week, though currently I’m taking a short hiatus.
D3: We understand you do a lot of volunteering for the triathlon community. Tell us your thoughts on the importance of athletes volunteering their time and giving back to their sport and community?
MK: I do volunteer at local races. I am on the committee to organize the local Komen Race for the Cure. I have also volunteered to head up race day registration for two local triathlons. Last year I had the opportunity to volunteer at a local children’s triathlon – that was great fun! I also help out at some local running races. My children sometimes volunteer with me, as well. For the last few years I have been the president of our local tri club – Triple Threat.
I think it is very important to volunteer at races. I love to work the registration because we get many questions from new triathletes and I enjoy speaking with them and helping to ease their concerns. In several of the races I assist at, I know the race director. I think because of our experience in triathlons, we can offer insight to the race director that a non-triathlete would not be able too. It helps with the development of their race. I believe it is important to be on the other side of the event as well, just to provide the opportunity for others to race.
D3: If you could do any triathlon race, what one would you do and why?
MK: Kona would be the obvious, because I think it would be incredible to be on the course with all those exceptional athletes. But I would want to do a race where I would get to enjoy the beauty of the landscape and there it is hard to pick. I think Lake Placid would be great, but I know there are many beautiful courses, so that is a tough call. But it would definitely be an IM race.