Women For Tri is about support, encouragement, and the will to transform the "impossible" into the possible! The 2017 Women For Tri Ambassadors promote the Women For Tri mission to introduce new women into the sport of triathlon and are chosen each year by the Women For Tri Board of Advisors based on a combination of factors, including overall contribution, influence and leadership in Women For Tri efforts.
In 2016, Women For Tri's Ambassador program piloted in 14 markets at select IRONMAN, Life Time Tri, Iron Girl, and Gildan Esprit de She events as well as the Nautica Malibu Triathlon. These races highlighted a range of distances including sprint, Olympic, IRONMAN 70.3, and full-distance IRONMAN events, with a few select running events.
The 2017 team is comprises 17 regional ambassadors, nine local coordinators and two brand ambassadors who span 10 regions in the U.S. and seven countries: Australia, Luxembourg, Ireland, Canada, China, the United Arab Emirates and the United States. These 28 female athletes will represent Women For Tri to help overcome barriers and introduce more women to the sport of triathlon.
The 2017 Women For Tri Ambassadors are:
Minda Dentler New York, NY
Minda Dentler is 4x Ironman, a mother, insurance professional, health advocate & speaker. Despite her legs being paralyzed from contracting polio as an infant in India, Minda became the first and only female wheelchair athlete to complete the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawai'i in 2013. This led her to be an ESPN ESPY Award Nominee for Best Female Athlete with a Disability in 2014. Minda’s journey in athletics began as an adult when she started hand-cycling and then switched to triathlon.
Joanne Murphy Galway, Ireland
Joanne Murphy is an international sports presenter providing live sports commentary for a variety of sporting events around the world. Often referred to as the 'Irish Voice of IRONMAN,' she works as one of the voices on the UK & Ireland tour. She has raced at all distances since 2009. This is her first year racing since getting injured in 2014, and she will attempt break the record for Cycling Around Ireland with 3 female triathletes as part of the Galway Baybes.
Susane' Belkhiati Panorama, South Australia, Australia
Susane's mission as a Coach is to empower people to live extraordinary lives and reach their dreams with joy and intention. She has over 20 years experience in the Coaching Industry with qualifications both Nationally & Internationally in the areas of: High Performance Coaching, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Resilience Training, Neuro-Science & Emotional Intelligence. This year she's competing in her 9th & 10th IRONMAN races in Port Macquarie & Western Australia respectively, and is so proud to be representing Women For Tri for a second time.
Brenda Bettencourt San Francisco, CA
Brenda's first triathlon was a sprint in 2000. She gradually added longer distances, doing her first IRONMAN in 2004. She focuses on 70.3 and IRONMAN races. She has done 7 IRONMAN races, including the IRONMAN World Championships in Kailua-Kona, Hawai'i and the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships twice. She is on the Board for the Golden Gate Triathlon Club for her third year and is excited to be hosting several women’s events/programs this year to encourage women in the sport. She's retired, living the tri life. You can find more about her training and racing in her blog, http://ironmanlaketahoe.blogspot.com.
Kristy Breslaw Boca Raton, FL
Kristy is one of the four founding members of Boca Raton Triathletes, which has grown to over 400 members since 2009. She has her Psychology Degree in Forensic Psychology but is now a stay at home mom to her 10 year old son. She has been competing in triathlons since 2003. She is an 18x 70.3 and 4x IRONMAN finisher. In 2016, Boca Raton Tri was awarded two Women for Tri Triathlon Club Grants and successfully got 50+ women across the finish line of their 1st triathlon with their program. She looks forward to growing it throughout the state of Florida.
Diane Bruchhauser Tempe, AZ
Your life is your greatest work of art, wanting it can be done sitting on the couch, deciding to create a great life means jumping in all the way. Diane is a 4x IRONMAN finisher, a 7x IRONMAN 70.3 finisher, and has been a triathlete for 7 years. She believes in encouraging women to love themselves and give to others. She is the Chairman of Tri for the Cure Arizona, which strives to inspire first-time women of all levels of experience in triathlon to follow their heart, set goals, and reach them while raising awareness and money for breast cancer.
Raynelle Buggs Atlanta, GA
Raynelle is excited about the opportunity to encourage and support other ladies that have a passion for or are looking for a challenge in the Triathlon world. She believes that being a part of the Triathlon community provides a healthy outlet and an opportunity to meet some incredible like-minded women and that Women For Tri is a great place to start for support. She's glad that she can be a part of a great group of women.
Lisa Christenson Waukesha, WI
Lisa grew up in California and started swimming and running competitively at a young age. In 2010, while training for the Boston Marathon, she decided to enter her first triathlon and has been passionate about the sport ever since. Passionate enough that she now coaches triathletes of all experience levels. In the summer of 2016 she started a youth team. Her favorite distance to race is the 70.3 distance. Lisa currently resides near Milwaukee, WI with her husband and twin 14 year old daughters.
Cari Kauffman Dahling Chicago, IL
After retiring from a long competitive swimming career upon graduation from the University of Evansville, Cari turned to triathlon as a way to stay fit and blow off some steam in law school. She completed her first triathlon, the Chicago Triathlon, in 2008 and never looked back. Since then, she has dabbled in every distance with a handful of sprint, Olympic, and 70.3 finishes, as well as IRONMAN Louisville in 2011 and IRONMAN Florida in 2016. Outside of triathlon, she is an attorney in Chicago, where she lives with her husband.
Janet Dixon Roanoke, TX
2017 brings Janet's 10th year of racing in triathlons. Triathlon entered her life by accident. While receiving treatment for an injury, her doctor advised her to, “try riding a bike instead of running." So she did. Just over a year later, she learned to ride a bike, swim better than a doggie-paddle, returned to running, and finished her first IRONMAN 140.6 race. She has been hooked on triathlon ever since and has completed three additional full IRONMAN races and multiple 70.3, Olympic and Sprint distances.
Susanne Gutjhar Walferdange, Luxembourg
Susanne is a communications professional and former competitive basketball player who caught the TRI virus in her mid-twenties. Following her motto 'LOVE2TRI,' she is passionate about triathlon and finished more than 20 70.3 and IRONMAN races all over the world, qualIfiying for the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships in the years 2015-17. She is also thrilled by adventure and team races off the beaten track. Susanne started for the, Friends on Bike Triathlon Team, in 2016. This season she is member of the Zoot Triathlon Team Europe.
Kristen Hislop Clifton Park, NY
Do. Believe. Achieve. We are have to start somewhere. Kristen loves inspiring women to, 'do','because that always leads to them believing in themselves. She has been involved with the sport of triathlon for over 25 years. To Kristen, being able to get more women involved in the sport with Women for Tri is a dream come true. She can't wait to meet, encourage, cheer on, teach, support, and celebrate as women ACHIEVE in the sport of triathlon.
Amber Keech Toro Orem, UT
Amber is a dedicated triathlon coach, personal trainer, & mom of two on a mission to help empower women to conquer their next big challenge. Amber fell in love with triathlon in college where she served as team president and the rest is history. She currently races Sprint distances through 70.3, with her sights set on an IRONMAN in 2017. When she isn't training, racing, or working with her athletes, you can find Amber playing with her kids, writing fitness articles, or crafting homemade kombucha and soaps.
Carla McKay San Francisco, CA
A lifelong runner, Carla's first triathlon was the Danskin Sprint in 1993. Fast forward to 2013, where she got into the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon and loved training and racing it! From then on she has been hooked and completed IRONMAN Lake Placid in 2015. An IRONMAN and multiple IRONMAN 70.3's later, Carla is loving supporting new women in the sport of triathlon by co-leading the Women For Tri programing and serving as Membership Director for the Golden Gate Triathlon Club. She's looking forward to lots of Women For Tri greatness in 2017!
Dr. Shaunna Payne Gold Bowie, MD
Dr. Shaunna Payne Gold is a scholar-practitioner at the University of Maryland and The George Washington University. Shaunna discovered running in 2011. After losing 70+ pounds, she found out that she was pregnant with her second son. Her doctor encouraged her to tone down the running and swim instead. At 36, she learned how to swim, began riding her bike again, and competed in her first pool Sprint Triathlon 3-months post-partum. Shaunna is now training for her first IRONMAN 70.3.
Courtney Ray The Woodlands, TX
Courtney did her first triathlon in 2012 and fell in love with the sport instantly. There is nothing else like the triathlon community! She's spent the last 5 years racing every distance from super-sprint to IRONMAN. Triathlon has helped her find a strength she never knew she had within her. Triathlon has had such a positive influence in her life, it brings her great joy to share the sport with others.
Melissa Rattue Saint-Sauveur, Quebec, Canada
Always smiling, always on the move, Melissa loves sports and triathlon so much, that she made it her hobby and work! As an emergency doc, she tries to encourage great health habits. As a sports doc, she treats athletes. As a coach, she tries to motivate, teach, and encourage beginners and experienced athletes throughout their training and competitions. And as an athlete herself, she strives to be better, keep learning, keep it fun and challenging, and make triathlon a long lived passion. Try your best, Just Tri!!
Melina Timson-Katchis Dubai, The United Arab Emirates
Melina is a mother of three young girls currently living in the UAE. Raised in Cyprus, she came into triathlons aged 17, but at 20 was hit by a car whilst riding and never came back. 16 years later, she completed my first iron-distance triathlon. An amazing husband, fantastic friends, helped her do what she thought was an unattainable dream. In doing so she found herself. Her daughters saw a new mother and found sport through her influence. She currently lives in an expat multicultural community and has seen triathlon bring people together in a truly unique way.
Ginny Wong Tuen Mun, Hong Kong, China
Ginny started her triathlon life in 2006 and 3 km running could have killed her at the time. She loves triathlons, and built her triathlon career 3 years later. She established her triathlon shop, 3rd Move Triathlon, and found her triathlon team, Dashing Iron Team, in 2009. After 10 years training, she won an IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship slot in 2016. Ginny is an IRONMAN Certified Coach and wants to bring more people, especially women to triathlon world.
Sherri Brown Toms River, NJ
Sherri is a 50 year old mother of two teenagers. She has been competing in triathlons for 4 years. Her background is as a swimmer, competing in distance swimming in college. She was also a Lifeguard for 6 seasons. She is looking forward to competing in her second IRONMAN 70.3 this year in Augusta, GA. Triathlon has given her the opportunity to meet so many amazing women! The friendships she have made in her tri club inspire her to do more than she ever thought she could.
Maricarmen Farias Denver, CO
"Me? Doing a triathlon? That is only for crazy people and who pays for that?" Maricarmen recalls this as her first reaction when she learned about triathlons at age 20. to her, it truly seemed like something IMPOSSIBLE to accomplish. After seeing her fiancee FINISH his first triathlon, on a mountain bike, she decided to give triathlons a try. And guess what? It completely changed her life! Now she wants to pay it forward to all of the women who were on the same place where she was 8 years ago, lacking belief or having tons of questions.
Courtney Fretwell Irvine, CA
Courtney is a Dreamer. She dreams small things and often larger things. From running her first half marathon in 2014 to the hopes of completing her first 140.6 IRONMAN in 2017, she continues to dream that all things are possible. Since the start of her triathlon journey, she has completed 6 half marathons, 3 full marathons, 2 sprint triathlons, 1 Olympic triathlon, and 1 IRONMAN 70.3. If you don't catch her outside, she's teaching Group Fitness and spin classes weekly. She can't wait to see you on race day!
Ann Karine New York, NY
Ann Karine is a certified triathlon coach, running coach and personal fitness trainer. She works at Asphalt Green as a triathlon coach and personal trainer. Ann is a running coach for Fred's Team, an athletic program that raises money for cancer research for MSKCC. She wrote about endurance sports for examiner.com for many years. Ann is also a produced and published playwright. Currently she writes on her own blog - trianntri.com. Ann loves helping people accomplish their goals.
Susan McNamee Lafayette, CO
As a later in life athlete, Susan took up triathlon at the age of 61. Since then, she has done 7 IRONMAN races & 3 70.3 races, a few Olympics and Sprints. She fell in love with the sport and it has made a huge difference in her life. She loves encouraging women of all ages and abilities to give triathlon a chance - and can almost can guarantee them that once they do, they will be hooked! Being a Women For Tri ambassador last year allowed her to help build awareness and increase participation in local IRONMAN events.
Nanette Nanjo-Jones Gig Harbor, WA
Nanette has been competing in triathlons (Sprint to 70.3 distances) for 10 years after doing her first one with a Team In Training chapter. In October, she will compete in Arizona 70.3 and is serving as a Local Coordinator for the Pacific NW Region for 2017 – after newly relocating to Washington State. In 2013, she became a USAT Level I certified coach and loves to promote the Women For Tri initiative encouraging those who, “don’t think they are triathletes,” to, “Give it a Tri."
Leyla Porteous Mooresville, NC
Leyla discovered triathlon 4 years at the ripe old age of 37 and it was been life changing for her! She found not only an amazing sport, a way to keep fit that she enjoys, and an active lifestyle, but most importantly through triathlon she has met the most amazing people, in particular women. Triathlon has allowed her to do things she never thought were possible, to start to dream big, and push through her own preconceived limits. It has made her stronger, more resilient, and more confident!
Jennifer Sykes Alexandria, VA
Jennifer is a 3x IRONMAN finisher and member of Team FeXY, a triathlon team in Virginia, Maryland, and DC. In 2008 (four months after her first IRONMAN), she suffered a neck injury while deployed overseas with the U.S. Air Force, resulting in a medical retirement from the military and ending her triathlon training. She slowly returned back to the sport. Despite facing many life challenges during recovery, she took the obstacles she faced and used them as fuel to train-finishing her second IRONMAN in 2015.
Barbara Thomas Broadview Heights, OH
Barb started doing triathlons in the early 80's on and off and has had four children. While her children were growing up she coached a variety of their sports. She got back into triathlons the year her daughter graduated from college who was a swimmer and started to compete with her. Her youngest son, who was a runner, joined them. They have since have traveled to Nationals and World's together. She has been a mentor to a variety of newbies. To her, getting other women involved in triathlons is the BEST.
All female members of the Women for Tri Facebook Group, who are interested in supporting our mission to identify & diminish primary barriers to entry, mobilize triathlon advocates to encourage & engage female athletes across all distances & represent all athletic abilities, are encouraged to apply regardless of triathlon skill level or experience. If you have any questions, please send an email to email@example.com.
Also, make sure you are a member of the Women For Tri Facebook group to stay up-to-date on ambassador plans in your surrounding area.