Saturday, June 9, 2012

Chrissie Wellington. A LIFE WITHOUT LIMITS: A World Champion's Journey

"One of the biggest fears of a male pro triathlete is getting 'chicked' by a lady. For the first time in history that fear applies to nearly all male professionals. Chrissie is that good."
-Lance Armstrong

I don't review a lot of nonfiction here, because my main focus is young adult literature. However, from time to time, I feel compelled to share some of the nonfiction I read. This is one of those times.

Everyone loves a great biography, young adults included. And with triathlons becoming more and more popular, this autobiography by Chrissie Wellington is perfect timing.

What I found so astonishing is that Chrissie didn't start at a really young age knowing that she wanted to be a professional athlete. In fact, she was 30 when she raced her first triathlon! This is just unheard of for athletes. She had another successful career already. But one thing led to another and she decided to run the London marathon for charity, inspired by a friend. Well, she shocked herself by finishing with a time of 3:08! Uh, yeah. Her first marathon.

Then she went on to do pretty well in triathlons, but then her coach signed her up for her first Ironman to be raced only 10 months after becoming a triathlete. She went on to win that Ironman.  She proceeded to race 12 Ironmans after that. And she has won every single one. (4 of those being the Kona World Championship). It's pretty accurate to say that she's a talented athlete. But what's really inspiring is how many obstacles she's had in her races. She's crashed in a race and still come back to win. She's had flat tires in races and still come back to win. She's had broken bones and cracked ribs too close to race day, but still went on to win. It's flat out inspiring whether you're an athlete or not.

Since I'm a newbie to triathlons myself (1 year), I knew I would enjoy this book. But I really had no idea what I was in for. I was happy that I didn't know beforehand much about Chrissie, because I really enjoyed the suspense while reading. Another inspiring aspect of Chrissie is her heart. Her former career involved social development in poverty stricken areas of the world. Now that she has a voice, she's involved in several charities. She has said many times that champions come and go, but whether she does something positive with her success is what really matters.

Here's a snippet from her website:
"Sport has a tremendous power – and can be a force for considerable change. I feel very strongly that as a professional triathlete my impact and message should be wider than my performance on the race course, and last longer than my athletic career.

Triathlon is unique in that the professional athletes get to compete simultaneously with the amateur athletes. And as much as many athletes are inspired by the accomplishments of the professionals, we too are encouraged and inspired by the amateurs that we get to share the stage with."
She's an incredibly inspiring person, as well as an inspiring athlete. The book is well-written. I enjoyed the flow of the storytelling. Chrissie's honesty about her early challenges with eating disorders will be helpful to many readers. I also feel how funny she is and know for sure that she would be a lot of fun to hang out with!

This is a champion's story you won't soon forget.
For more about Chrissie go here to her website.