Inspirational Story – Erin Sullivan

Published by USA Triathlon

I share my Power Within every day by encouraging others to discover their own power. My power is their power. – Erin Sullivan, IHJ President

She never thought she could do it. A triathlon, that is. She knew she was a decent swimmer, and she knew how to ride a bike. She eventually took up running so she could complete a marathon, and ultimately found herself here, on the start line of a triathlon.

Erin Sullivan inspires others to take part in triathlon. She delights in sharing that feeling of possibility with those around her, so they can take on new challenges and achieve their goals. 

That’s how Erin has always been. Of all the races in which she’s competed, the ones she enjoys the most are when she’s racing with a new triathlete — staying alongside them through the whole course, regardless of the finishing place or time.

She watches as members of the Omaha, Nebraska-based Ironhawk Juniors Triathlon Club — a free program for girls ages 8-14 — cross the finish line of a local race. She’s elated for these kids, proud of the positive impact she’s had on their lives as a volunteer. Her heart swells when she thinks about their journey; how many of them could never have imagined completing a triathlon before they were offered the training, resources and support to do so.

Erin often looks back on the athletes who have overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to accomplish a goal: The person who was afraid of water and just swam his first 25 yards in a pool, or the person who never imagined riding a bike more than once around the block who just completed her first 10-mile ride. It’s a reminder for Erin that we all build each other up, and that you never know who you may be inspiring each time you step out the door to swim, bike or run.

She smiles as she reminiscences, hoping she can continue to inspire the kids, race volunteers and parents for years to come.

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