Athlete of the Week: Denise Pittuck - Overcoming Challenges and Embracing the Journey

Meet Denise Pittuck, a remarkable athlete and member of Team Triumph. Denise's journey in the world of triathlon is truly inspiring, marked by resilience, passion, and a commitment to personal growth. In this exclusive interview, Denise shares her diverse experiences, challenges faced, and the triumphs that have defined her remarkable athletic career.

Professional Journey: From Biomechanics to Triathlons

Denise's professional journey is nothing short of extraordinary. With a Master's in Biomechanics, she initially worked as a consultant with Recreation and Sport Canada. Over the years, she held pivotal roles with various National Sport Governing Associations, served as an Assistant Technical Director, and even founded her own consulting company specializing in Event Management, Marketing, and Desktop Publishing.

Post the 1988 Olympics, Denise's entrepreneurial spirit led her to close her consulting company and assume the role of Executive Director for Sports Officials Canada. Working with officials from diverse sports leagues, including CFL, NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL, added a unique dimension to her career. Even after retiring from a retail job in 2019, Denise continued to contribute part-time as a Physiotherapy Aid and as a dedicated caregiver and training partner for a young autistic man for nearly 25 years.

Triathlon Journey: A Path to Recovery and Renewed Passion

Denise's entry into the world of triathlons was spurred by a cancer diagnosis in 2005. Seeking to maintain her health and fitness, she turned to running, karate, and her background as a competitive swimmer and water polo player. Despite not initially enjoying running, Denise's journey took a turn when she discovered triathlons at the age of 60.

Her first Try-a-Tri event in 2013 was intended to be a one-time experience, but the joy and connections she found in the triathlon community compelled her to continue. Denise's commitment to the sport led her to participate in various events, including the Iron Girl Canada sprint triathlon. Her training philosophy, rooted in a Zen approach, emphasizes the importance of the journey over the destination.


Challenges and Triumphs: Overcoming Obstacles with Determination
Denise's journey hasn't been without challenges. Overcoming thyroid cancer, she faces the ongoing task of balancing exercise, medication, and diet to maintain her metabolism. The impact of aging and the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic added additional layers of difficulty to her training routine.

Despite these challenges, Denise persevered, embracing spin classes, treadmill running, and pool swims as alternatives during challenging times. Her dedication to triathlons stems from a genuine love for the sport, where the competition is the icing on the cake. Denise proudly emphasizes the importance of participating, finding pleasure, and accepting aging gracefully.


Recent Achievements: Racing Towards Success
In 2023, Denise raced the Women's Triathlon Festival with determination and resilience. Following a challenging race the previous year, she executed a strategic run using a step-counting technique, securing a 2nd place finish in her age group. This achievement was a testament to her perseverance and adaptability during races.

Denise's proudest accomplishment this year was completing 15 events, including her first sprint duathlon. Despite facing injuries that affected her swim training, she embraced the challenges and continued to train and compete at the age of 70.


Team Triumph Experience: A Game-Changing Community
Denise acknowledges the pivotal role of Team Triumph, specifically Coach Kevin, in her triathlon journey. The supportive community, varied programs catering to all levels, and the joy of learning at swim practices have made a significant impact on her athletic pursuits. Denise values the expertise and encouragement provided by the club, emphasizing that one doesn't have to be training for an Ironman to benefit from their programs.

Denise Pittuck's journey is a testament to the power of resilience, passion, and a positive mindset in overcoming life's challenges. As she continues to inspire and contribute to the triathlon community, Denise embodies the spirit of a true athlete, embracing each race as a unique part of her remarkable journey.


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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