In a recent Plus Model Mag article, it was declared Year of the Plus Size Athlete. Perhaps they read my blog from January 2015, when I declared it. With the likes of Amanda Bingson on ESPN, and 2 plus-size runners being featured on the front cover on their magazine covers, it was no surprise when Norma Gonzalez, a 52-year old plus size athlete from Harlingen, Texas reached out to tell me her story about being asked to participate in some local advertising and more.
- This was your first year racing triathlon. How and why did you get started?
I started “Power Walking” March 2014 through a Footworks Run Clinic, Coached by Wilfredo Jun and Edith Ellorimo. They trained me to able to Power Walk the Harlingen Half Marathon, Couch to Half in 13 weeks. I went over time and finished in 4hours 15 minutes and 9 seconds. I didn’t care that I was last. I finished. Coach Ellorimo taught me how to BELIEVE in myself.
After completing the Half Marathon, I was looking for another challenge. Coach Ellorimo is a many time, Ironman, and loves the sport. His passion for Triathlon intrigued me, thus I decided to try it out. I fell in love with the sport and spent all summer long training and doing three triathlons and 5 iTri’s, (practice open water triathlons held by, Footworks).
2. What has been the most fun and exciting aspect of it?
Being part of a triathlete community has been so empowering. My “Chifladas”(best tri buddies) and I are in our late 40’s to mid 50’s. We have a great time training, competing and participating in fellowship, in which we are all one happy family. My most exciting part, my wonderful husband of 28 years, has been so supportive through out my athletic journey and has seen how much I love the sport that he has begun training for his first triathlon.
3. The Bicycle World approached you about using one of your race photos, for some in-store advertising. How did that opportunity come about?
When I was approached with the poster, I asked Mr. Roberts, “are you sure you want me on your poser, I’m just a beginner.
He replied, You have to give me permission to use your photo on the poster, but you are a winner! A lot of others are still sitting down! That is the statement…. Norma got up and is doing it! Wow! We are tired of seeing the elites getting all of the attention! LOL You deserve the spotlight … You are doing it!!! No…. You DID IT! Yaaaa!!!”
4. What was your reaction to when they first asked?
When Mr. Roberts, owner of Bicycle Word RGV approached me about wanting to use a photo of me for one of his 5 foot Aad posters in his store, I was pleasantly surprised and agreed to it. I was “thinking he’s a nice man, and was thinking up of ideas”. Never did I think it would really happen.
5. How long will the promotion piece stay up?
I believe Bicycle World will be keeping up the poster in the store for a couple of years. He adds a poster every couple of years.
6. What feedback have you and The Bicycle World received since posting your photo?
Everyone has been so generous with the positive comments. I was nervous about people seeing my poster. I’m not the “typical” size of a triathlete- but with help from Mr. Roberts at Bicycle World using me in as a advertisement in his store, he is helping foster a new frame of mind for athletes of all sizes, shapes and ages. I really do appreciate that. In doing this, I have even been asked to give a motivational speech to a group of educators- telling them about my journey.
7. Any last thoughts on body diversity in sport etc.
Times are changing, the image of the “traditional” athlete is now inclusive. It’s taken fabulous coaches, Running Coaches, Jun and Edith Ellorimo, Swim Coach Kelly Cohen and the support of the Bike Medics at Bicycle World. Without the support of the Running and Triathlon communities- this journey might have been extremely tough.
About the Author:
Krista is the Founder of Born to Reign Athletics, a blog + portal website dedicated to motivating, educating and celebrating plus size women who unleash their inner athlete as a means of living a healthy life. She is an award-winning multi-sport athlete in triathlon and indoor rowing, and is recognized as a global leader in plus size fitness and athletics.