Professional Triathlete Sarah Alexander to join Asheville Tri

About Sarah: Sarah Alexander is an elite triathlete racing professionally since 2016. In 2019 she completed a 70.3 Ironman in Gult Coast and placed 5th. The same year she placed 6th in the 70.3 Ironman in Geelong. Her Peak ITU World Ranking is 62, and in 2018 she placed 4th in the Elite National Championships.

If you’re attending the Asheville Triathlon this month, you may see Sarah Alexander, pro triathlete and member of USA Triathlon. Sarah, 32, moved to Asheville in the spring and is training to do five half Ironmans this year. She will be participating in the Asheville Tri on Sunday, July 21st. 

Ok you might not see her. Because she’ll be kicking your a$$….

All joking aside, that’s exactly what makes the Asheville Triathlon such an all-encompassing event. The sprint distances allow for all levels of participants, from first-timers to pros, and many in-between. It’s the perfect race for someone who wants to “try the tri” for the first time, but it’s also a great event for an elite triathlete, like Sarah, because she can go fast and hard.

“My first triathlons were all local tris, and I think there’s something special about those races,” Sarah said. “I feel like it brings me back to my roots. Also the distance is great because it challenges you in terms of speed.”

Favorite Role Models

  • Daniela Ryf. She has dominated the sport. She Inspires me because she is relentless. 
  • Mirinda Carfrae. She has a young daughter but still commits to the sport. She sets a great example for moms continuing to pursue their dreams while raising their families.
  • My mom. She introduced me to tri. I was 15 and I remember her driving down to the track at 4 a.m. I’d sit in the car and cheer her on when she ran by. I have so much respect how she balanced training with her work and still priorited my brothers and my activities. I would have no idea what triathlon was if it wasn’t for her. 

An athlete in the making

Sarah’s background was full of athletics: She grew up playing lacrosse, tennis, and was a competitive figure skater for 15 years.  In fact, skating helped shape the type of athlete she is today. 

“I loved skating but I would cry every day because I wanted to quit,” Sarah recalls. “When you’re working on a jump, you try it and fall, try it and fall. You come off the ice soaking wet and sore…It really molded my work ethic. I’d say there’s a big mental component of performance for all sports, but especially for figure skating.”

When Sarah went to college, she had planned to join the cross country team but was recruited by the rowing team instead. She became a rower for Dartmouth College’s Varsity team for four years. She was 110 pounds when she started school, and left weighing 165. Talk about the freshman 15!

“I gained the rowing 40,” she said, laughing. “I was always trying to bulk up.”

Her strong legs, sense of rhythm, attention to technique and aerobic strength translated well into her first triathlon, which she completed in her early 20s. After graduating, she went on to business school, but decided to forego the corporate salary and become a professional triathlete. The window to train pro is small, she said. She wanted to seize the opportunity and see where it takes her. 

Joining up with the Asheville community

Sarah now trains with Triathlon Gold based in Asheville, a USA Triathlon program headed up by elite triathlon coach Jarrod Evans. 

“It’s been a journey,” she says. “I’m competing with women who have been doing tris a lot longer than I have, and it’s been a lot of dedication and hard work.”

Sarah heard about the Asheville Triathlon as she was researching local races to help prepare her for international half Ironmans. The timing was perfect, and she is looking forward to meeting members of the local sports community.

What is her favorite part of a triathlon?

“Running. But it’s a love/hate relationship,” she says, smiling. 

Next steps

Sarah’s next event is the Santa Rosa 70.3 in Sonoma County , California. Her current race goals include the 2020 Ironman 70.3 World Championships, and to win a Half Ironman. We wish her all the best and look forward to seeing her succeed in her journey. 

Come cheer on Sarah at the Asheville Triathlon Sunday, July 21st! You can still register here. Spaces are limited and we are filling up quickly!

Sarah’s Top Three Tips for Beginner Triathletes:

  • “Performance favors the prepared. Gear, nutrition, what you’ll need in transition.. All those things can become overwhelming.  Taking the time to seek out help, to prepare ahead of time. You only have your first tri race once, so having all those pieces in place as you can…it then allows you to not have stressful negative experience and really enjoy the race.
  • “Don’t be too hard on yourself. I think tris attract high performers and competitive people, and along with that comes a lot of self criticism and comparing yourself to others.I can definitely relate to that feeling of intimidation. Others have done more races, have more accomplishments..but Hey, I’m here for me, I’m going to do my best, I’m going to enjoy it. And that’s all you can really do at the end of the day. 
  • “Be courageous. This is a mantra of mine. In Triathlon, it feels like everything is happening very fast. It teaches you to be brave. Everyone has their own demons they have to overcome on race day, so tri not only teaches you to be brave, but I find that courage goes  a long way. I’ve beaten a lot of people who, on paper, I would not have if it weren’t for courage. Because I go for it, I’ve beaten them.”

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