Kelsey Withrow has dealt with a lot in her long and storied career to become a multiple middle-distance champion.
As detailed on her website, these include an eating disorder, emotional abuse from a coach, a broken hip and glandular fever. She even retired from triathlon in 2007 due to injury.
After heart surgery in 2008, she returned to professional sport as a cyclist and eventually to professional triathlon in 2011. Yet more turmoil followed in 2014 when she was hit by a truck while out on her bike and was told she would never compete again, causing depression and weight gain.
She did though meet her coach Mike Campbell, who helped her return to her physical best and in 2015 she competed back in her first major event. A year later she made the decision to go ‘all in’ on the sport - a decision she did not regret.
‘Superfit’, as she is also known, earned her first professional triumph at IRONMAN 70.3 Victoria in 2017, before adding a second victory in Ecuador just a few weeks later. In all, Kelsey earned six top-three finishes during a breakout 2017 campaign.
Five further podiums followed in 2018 including a victory at IRONMAN 70.3 Quijing, and Kelsey also completed her first full-distance race in Australia, finishing third.
Two more victories followed in Shanghai and Cartagena in 2019 in a year where she qualified for the World Championship in Kona. Unfortunately, a mechanical fault with her bike forced her out of the race.
Kelsey’s weirdest quirk she says is her ability to recite the opening minutes of the film Clueless, while the proudest moment of her life was finally achieving victory as a professional triathlete in Victoria - some 16 years after she entered the pro ranks.
The best advice Kelsey has ever received in regard to training and racing is “you get what you put into it,” while she’d like her legacy “to show that anything is possible through hard work and self-belief".