A 2.4 mile swim, a 112-mile bike, and a marathon run continues to be an intense test of endurance for Ironman triathletes across the globe. This style of competition isn’t anything new for Pinewood graduate Jenny Hansen. Running her first "kid triathlon" when she was eight years old, Jenny Hansen now wishes to compete in the Kona Ironman this year.
KW: Why did you start doing triathlons?
JH: I raced my first triathlon when I was 8 after my mom found an advertisement for a kid distance race at . I ended up getting 2nd in my first race and being the competitive person that I am, I enjoyed having such success on my first try, so I kept on racing. When I was 11 I did my first sprint distance triathlon (500 yard swim, 12-mile bike, three-mile run. At 16, I did my first half Ironman distance and broke the 11 year record for the F16-19 race time at the Wildflower half. Pretty much, I started doing triathlons when I was really young, but I didn't start racing for the Blazeman Foundation until I learned that my coach was diagnosed with ALS.
KW: Where do you train?
JH: The swimming portion of my training takes place at the . To train for the biking portion I usually have to do 2 or three out and backs to get the right mileage. Most of my rides include heading out to Cañada road. My running training is accomplished by various runs throughout Los Altos. I try to do as few loops for my running training because the Kona Ironman is a single out and back.
KW: Of all the triathlons why the one in Kona?
JH: The Kona Ironman is the World Championship race for Ironman. My entire career as a triathlete has been about building. I went from kid distance, to sprint distance, to olympic distance, to Half-Ironman Distance, and most recently the Arizona Ironman. Doing Kona just feels like the next step because it is the Ironman race but on the biggest stage in the world. Most athletes have to qualify for the Kona Ironman, so it is a goal for a lot of athletes to qualify and be able to race at Kona. By winning a spot at the Kona Ironman through this voting contest, it would be a dream come true to be given the opportunity to compete in the Kona Ironman.
KW: How would you describe the news of hearing your basketball coach's illness to be?
JH: I learned about her diagnosis in June of 2009. At that time I had heard of the disease but my mom had to remind me about just what happens. All I remember was crying while feeling utter disbelief and helplessness.
KW: Did you raise the 40k? Do you see the Kona competition to be a way to earn that money?
JH: When I decided that I was going to run the Wildflower Half-Ironman I began telling people about my involvement with the Blazeman Foundation and my goal to raise the $40,000 by the time that I graduate from high school. The money I raised was done entirely by e-mailing family and friends and asking for their help not only in reaching my personal goal, but hopefully in getting closer to a cure for ALS. I absolutely see participating in the Kona Ironman as an opportunity to make people more aware of the disease and hopefully compel them to donate.
KW: If people want to donate to your goal or to ALS where should they?
KW: Do you encourage other kids to become more involved in triathlons? Why?
JH: As of now I am mostly concerned with engaging people in my efforts of raising awareness and money for Lou Gehrig's disease, so not much of time is spent encouraging people to specifically take up the sport of triathlon.
However, I have had some friends that want to join me (as much as they can) in my efforts, so I have trained them and provided them with as much triathlon equipment as I own to help them race in their first triathlon and spread the word to family and friends about their new fundraising efforts. While I don't actively try to recruit people to racing for the Blazeman Foundation, I am very open in discussing how racing with a cause has positively impacted my life. My ALS efforts also bled over into my basketball team in a more intimate way where a lot of my talks to my teammates was about competing for others.
KW: Three words how you want to describe yourself?
JH: My three words are: Dedicated, Ambitious, and Fun-loving
In order for Jenny to accomplish her dream of competing in the Kona Ironman she needs the help of the community.
What can you do?
1. Click on http://bit.ly/P68NMN
and vote for Jenny’s video. (You can also view all of the videos on this website . . . they are all very inspirational).
The "Vote Here" button is on the bottom left.
2. The voting period is July 4th through July 18 . . . You can vote for Jenny’s video once EACH day.
3. Please forward this link to ALL your friends and request that they, too, support Jenny by voting for her video once each day for the next two weeks.