June Member Spotlight- Chelsea Bankemper

ChelseaJune’s Member Spotlight is a newly-minted Ironman! And she earned that title in some of the worst weather conditions imaginable and this lady persevered! Please meet Chelsea Bankemper!

Chelsea was a serious athlete growing up, playing soccer, basketball and softball. She also ran track and cross country, and was part of a swim team. She is also a veteran triathlete, finishing her first race at the age of six! Her swim team coach was part of the group that hosted a local kid’s tri. Chelsea got her mom to sign her up even though she was officially too young (you had to be seven to race). She rocked that race course on a bike with pink streamers, no gears and foot brakes! It was enough to get her hooked and she’s been racing ever since.

Her first adult sprint was in 1997, and her first Olympic distance was in 1999. She jumped up to the 70.3 distance at last year’s Ironman Augusta 70.3. Of course, an Ironman was the next logical step, which she accomplished this past May at Ironman Texas. Unsurprisingly, finishing an Ironman is her proudest achievement as a triathlete, but IMTX wasn’t an ordinary race. As if competing in an Ironman isn’t difficult enough – the weather in Texas really didn’t cooperate on race day. Think about your worst possible race day weather conditions, and IMTX probably had it: heat, humidity, rain, hail, extreme winds – it was all there. Ironman actually had to stop the race for a while because the conditions got so hazardous. But Chelsea stuck it out for a strong finish!

Her favorite part of triathlon is the comraderie between the athletes. How people can be really competitive during the race, but then hang out together afterwards. “When we are all done, everyone is friends and enjoying the time after we finish and cheering other people to the finish line. I love how welcoming the sport is to all levels.”

In her non-triathlete life, Chelsea is a jobsite assistant for a commercial construction company. In her spare time, she enjoys doing anything outdoors, especially with her husband Martin (a fellow triathlete) and her two dogs, Diamond and Fozzy.

Quick Hits:

Favorite Workout: Summer swim workouts in the outdoor long course pool

Favorite Food: Pizza

Currently Reading: Just finished “The Martian” by Andy Weir