Member Spotlight: Amanda Morgan

16 Feb 2017 12:29 PM | Deleted user

        In 2010 as a sophomore at the University of Florida, a friend of Amanda Morgan’s was thinking of doing a triathlon.  At that point, Amanda was 50 lbs heavier and couldn’t run a quarter mile.  She believed she could not accomplish such a feat.  She then got upset with herself for thinking so negatively and signed up.  She completed the Moss Park Sprint Triathlon in October and her life hasn’t been the same since.

         Amanda, who grew up riding horses and has no background in endurance sports, has morphed into a multiple Ironman finisher and a Kona qualifier and as one could expect, lists the experience of the 2015 race and trip as the highlight of her triathlon career.  The best race result she has ever earned is Ironman Maryland in 2014.  Here at the age of 24 she finished in 11:02:41 and posted a blazing fast 5:24:35 on the bike.  This was good for a 2nd place age group finish.  Just one month later she would punch her ticket to the Big Island with a first place finish at Ironman Florida due to personal bests on the bike and run (weather cancelled the swim leg that year).

         Amanda’s advice for people considering a triathlon is to “Just give it a tri!”  She advises to start small and borrow equipment as after your first race you will either hate it or fall in love with the sport and it will quickly change your life.  She also recommends finding a group to train and grow with.

         Amanda joined G3 in 2016 when she moved back to Gainesville to take a job as a 4-H agent at the UF/IFAS Extension Office in Alachua County.  She was involved in TriGators when she was a student and wanted to become involved in the “adult” triathlon community.

         While some races have been better than others, Amanda feels like there was a lesson in all of them that she would never trade the experience for.  In May of 2015 she raced Ironman St. Croix 70.3.  The race is oppressive with rough water, an extremely windy and mountainous bike course, and humidity and heat that make Florida summers feel cool.  However, the experience prepared her for Kona where conditions are equally as challenging.  Plus she had a blast post-race with her mother snorkeling and exploring.

         Amanda’s biggest inspiration has been her mother.  When she first saw an Ironman video, she knew she needed to attempt the impossible.  After finishing her first Ironman (2012 Wisconsin), she set her sights on Kona qualification.  It took a few years of training and fueling that drive to excel to push her to qualification and throughout that journey her mom was her #1 supporter.  She attended every event and became her personal race Sherpa.  She took Amanda’s dream and made it her own in a completely unselfish and caring way.  After that first IM finish, she told her mother of her big dreams.  Her mother believed in her and that was all Amanda needed.  It took three years of training and finding the right coach.  There was no one more proud of her when she crossed the finish line with an age group victory than her mother.  Shortly after qualifying, Amanda’s mother would be diagnosed with a rare and aggressive bone cancer.  She underwent an aggressive resection of nearly half of her face and went through 90 days of radiation therapy.  Sadly, the last treatment fell the day after Amanda’s Kona trip and her mother was unable to attend, as travel was not possible.  While she said that missing Kona was one of her life’s greatest disappointments, she never complained and was still encouraging others around her, even up to her death in early 2016.  Her mother remains her inspiration as she went through incredible suffering yet still found joy, peace, and hope in her everyday journey.  Her favorite color was purple and so Amanda wraps purple bar tape on her bike, the Black Pearl. This way, her mother is always with her watching over her as a guardian angel while cycling on the road.

         In addition to G3, Amanda races for Team Wattie Ink, a “high octane group of hand selected individuals.”  She loves supporting the brand and the team’s sponsors.  She loves the clothing and notes she “could sleep in my tri kit” as it is the most comfortable gear you’ll ever wear.  She notes that Sean or “Wattie” and his wife, professional triathlete Heather Jackson, are two of the finest people you will ever meet.

         Currently, Amanda aims to keep bettering herself athletically and personally.  She is working with a coach, Nick Brodnicki, to help get faster and stronger.  She believes that working with a coach who can tailor your schedule and approach does wonders for improving.  She hopes to remain more consistent and has her eyes on a repeat trip to the Big Island.





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