The AT50: Ironwoman Chrissie Wellington (#18)

An incredible streak from a late-blooming hardbody
Staff Writer

Larry Maurer

Age: 35
Sports: Triathlon
Highlights: 1st place finish in Ironman World Championship in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011; undefeated (13-0) at the Ironman distance; female world record-holder in Ironman-distance triathlons, as well as Ironman-branded triathlons; 2006 International Triathlon Union Age Group World Champion
Quote: "I have unattractive feet, unruly hair and oversized calves, but I push this body to its absolute limit and it has never let me down."
Fact: Wellington did not begin training for triathlons until she was 29.
AT50 Point Total: 42.5

British triathlete Chrissie Wellington accomplished a lot in her relatively short professional triathlon career. Though she didn't start triathlon training until she was 29, she went on to win four Ironman Triathlon World Championships, and became one of only three women to win three consecutively. Along the way, she shattered numerous long-standing records. Her 2009 Ironman Hawaii time of 8:54:02 broke a 17-year-old course record, and her world record time for Ironman-distance triathlons (8:18:13) is 27 minutes and 35 seconds faster than the best time by any other woman ever.

But last year, she shocked the triathlon community when she announced her retirement, having fulfilled her major athletic goals. Wellington has experience working with the UN on water, sanitation and health projects in western Nepal, and is now fully focused on her development projects there, as well as her autobiography, A Life Without Limits. She describes her journey as a spiritual one, where she continues to seek self-discovery without resting on her (incredibly impressive) laurels.
—Brian Berkovitz

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