Athlete of the Week: Renee Roberts - A Triathlon Journey Through Time

This week, we are thrilled to shine the spotlight on Renee Roberts, a remarkable athlete whose journey spans decades and embodies the true spirit of triathlon.

 

Renee's sporting saga began in 1975, a time when running gear was a mere afterthought, and denim jeans doubled as running attire. As a Psychology undergraduate student at Carleton University, she found solace in the rhythm of running, a way to burn off energy amidst long study sessions. Little did she know that this initial foray into running would set the stage for an illustrious athletic career.

 

Her first taste of competitive running came in the scorching heat of August 1981 during a 30-kilometer race in St Jean, QC. Battling extreme conditions, including a shortage of water, Renee displayed unwavering determination, even resorting to drinking sponge water to quench her thirst. The challenges only fueled her resolve, leading to the accomplishment of her goal of breaking the 4-hour barrier in the Montreal Marathon later that year.

 

 

Recognizing the need for variety in her training regimen, Renee transitioned to triathlons, a sport that was in its infancy during the early 1980s. Back then, there were no sprint or Olympic distances; races involved a 2 km swim, 40-50 km bike, and a 15 km run. Undeterred by the demands of long-distance running, Renee embraced the novelty and diversity that triathlon offered.

 

Over the years, as she juggled the demands of motherhood, Renee participated in numerous races, documenting an impressive 66 races since 1997. Among her accomplishments are over 10 half marathons, triumphs in half iron man distances, and two Ironman-distance races, including the challenging course in Penticton, BC.

 

In 2009, Renee joined Team Triumph, embarking on a serious year of preparation for the 2010 Ironman Canada. Guided by a meticulously crafted training program and surrounded by like-minded women who became lifelong friends, she faced the grueling race with determination and grit. The bonds forged during this period continue to be a source of support and camaraderie, both on and off the racecourse.

 

Renee's passion for triathlons extends beyond the competition. She emphasizes the importance of regular strength training and thorough warm-ups, acknowledging the evolution of her fitness routine as she embraces retirement. While running may not be a perpetual pursuit, Renee feels fortunate to maintain her prowess in swimming and biking.

 

Away from the triathlon scene, Renee's professional background includes impactful work at The Rehabilitation Center in the Psychology Department. Her therapeutic endeavors, particularly running therapy groups for individuals with disabilities, showcased her dedication to helping others overcome challenges. From working with those coping with disabilities to leading assertiveness training for wheelchair users, Renee's influence extended far beyond the racecourse.

 

As a mother of four grown children and soon-to-be grandmother of five, Renee finds unparalleled joy in joining her family on various physical excursions. Watching her grandchildren engage in diverse activities brings immeasurable happiness, adding another layer to the multifaceted life of this extraordinary athlete.

 

Renee Roberts' journey is a testament to the enduring spirit of athleticism, resilience, and the power of forging lasting connections through sport. As we celebrate her as our Athlete of the Week, we draw inspiration from her unwavering dedication and the indomitable spirit that has defined her journey through the decades.

 

Julia Aimers
CSEP Clinical Exercise Physiologist
CSEP High-Performance Specialist

Certified Triathlon, Cycling, Yoga and Swimming Coach
USA Cycling Level 2 Coach
Training Peaks Accredited Coach


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