My Journey to Kona

September 16, 2022

Have you have dreamed of competing in the IRONMAN World Championships? Listen to the stories of how these QT2 Systems and OutRival Racing athletes made their dreams come true.

Episode 1 - Derek Sheridan - Episode 1 features QT2 Systems athlete Derek Sheridan and his Coach Doug MacLean. Learn how Derek went from participating in his first triathlon on a bet to earning his Kona slot in just five years.

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Episode 2 - Dawn English - Episode 2 features OutRival Racing athlete Dawn English and her Coach John Spinney. For her first triathlon in 1999, Dawn used a training plan pulled from a book she checked out of the library. It took just one race for her to be hooked on the sport. Over the past two decades, Dawn has raced dozens of races and learned a thing or two - including that PopTarts and Twizzlers are not ideal race fueling and, sometimes, to get where you want, you need to change your approach. After several near misses, Dawn joined up with Coach Spinney and earned her ticket to Kona by taking a top spot on the podium at her hometown race - IRONMAN Texas.

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Episode 3 - Damon Little - Episode 3 features QT2 Systems athlete Damon Little and his Coach Doug MacLean. Damon participated in his first sprint triathlon in 2013 figuring "how hard could it be" even though he did not know how to swim and had minimal running experience. After a few sprints, he decided to make the leap to long course and hired Doug MacLean as his coach. He raced his first IRONMAN in 2013. Six years and ten IRONMANs later, he earned his spot to the 2020 IRONMAN World Championships. Then the world shut down. 2020 was moved to February 2021, then cancelled. 2021 was cancelled. Through it all, he kept training, and now will toe the line in 2022. Listen along to find out how Damon went from surviving his first race, to middle of the pack long course athlete, to near misses, to earning his spot, to holding onto his dream through the past few years.

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Episode 4 - Ryan Zelinski - Episode 4 features QT2 Systems Mission Plan Athlete Ryan Zelinski.  Listen to how this baseball and football player transformed into an elite triathlete, earning his spot at the 2022 IRONMAN World Championships. Ryan raced his first triathlon over a decade ago wearing shorts and a t-shirt and riding a mountain bike. Eighteen months later, he raced his first IRONMAN and a year after that he was on the cusp of earning a qualifying spot. But it took seven years and countless hours of hard work, guided by QT2 Systems Mission Plan Coach Anne Basso, to earn his spot at the blazing hot 2021 IRONMAN Couer d' Alene.

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Episode 5 - Jeff Schleppy - Episode 5 features QT2 Systems athlete Jeff Schleppy and his Coach Tim Snow. For Jeff it's all about his Journey back to Kona. Jeff joined a triathlon club in 2014 as a means of getting in shape and living a healthier lifestyle. Within three years he qualified for the IRONMAN World Championships in only his second attempt at an IRONMAN event. Jeff spent the next five years chasing another bid to Kona. Every workout, every race became about earning a slot, and every miss became a failure in his mind. It was only when Jeff stepped back from the pressure he put on himself and learned to love the sport again that he raced his way to a qualifying slot.

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Episode 6 - Dave Bradshaw - Episode 6 features QT2 Systems athlete Dave Bradshaw and his Coach Dave Zimmet. Dave came to triathlon with a background as a pure distance runner. For the past ten years, Dave has been chasing the Kona dream, competing in eight IRONMAN events since 2013. After self-coaching, Dave knew he needed to make a change to reach his dream. Dave began working with Coach Dave Zimmet in late 2018, and immediately saw improvements in his long course performance. Dave earned his qualifying slot at the IRONMAN Lake Placid in 2021, with a strong swim, a smart bike and the fastest run split in his age group.

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Episode 7 - Fran Vincent - Episode 7 features QT2 Systems athlete Fran Vincent and her Coach Tim Snow. Fran returns to Kona this year for her fourth (and she says final) IRONMAN. Fran did her first triathlon back in the 1980s! After focusing on other adventures, Fran came back to triathlon in 2007 and raced her first IRONMAN in 2011. When she signed up, her plan was a once in done. But immediately upon crossing the finish line, she knew that she was hooked. Over the years, she has competed in ten IRONMAN events, earning top podium spots at several and four Kona bids.

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Episode 8 - Elizabeth FitzSullivan - Episode 8 features QT2 Systems athlete Elizabeth FitzSullivan and her Coach Heather Jorris.  Elizabeth was first exposed to triathlon in 2016 as a spectator of IRONMAN Texas 2016. Two years later, she lined up for the same race. As a full time physician and mother of three, Elizabeth's time is extremely limited, but with a creative approach and a never give up attitude, she manages to fit in all of her training. Elizabeth earned her ticket to Kona at IRONMAN Chattanooga through the IRONMAN XC (Executive Challenge).

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