I want to tell you a story about a girl from Kansas. She went on a journey looking for something and found out that everything she needed was already inside her. It may seem familiar but keep reading because, we really like this version.

First, let’s catch you up on a few highlights from an amazing weekend.

Oh and how appropriate that we said “First”. Because we want to give a shout out to a couple of Coeur girls who took the top spot at their races. Katie Ingram took top overall amateur at the Tribella Triathlon (presented by Coeur, oh by the way)

Coeur Athlete Katie

Katie...you are indeed Awesome!

and Denise Blue-Buckley grabbed 1st in her age group at the San Diego International.

Denise Buckly

Coeur Ambassadors Jeana and Denise post race

Congratulations also go out to Maud Golstyn and Renata Bucher for grabbing podium spots at Xterra Switzerland.

Athletes Laughing

"Here's looking at you two"

Coeur Pro Corrie Kristick continued her amazing start to a pro career by earning a spot on the podium by taking 5th at IM Buffalo Springs 70.3.

Corrie Kristick Running

Corrie digging deep at IM 70.3 Buffalo Springs

We also want to send wishes for a quick recovery to Kelly Burns Gallagher. She had a very serious fall during Challenge Atlantic City. We think very highly of Kelly. She’s smart, she’s funny and most of all, she is tough. So we know she’ll be back.

Wounded Knee

Get well soon Kelly

Now, on to our story. It is the story of an athlete. An athlete born in Kansas as we said. An athlete named Jess. She was a precocious child. Full of energy and quick of mind. And she was given a gift. You see, she was blessed with a big heart. Both literally and figuratively.

Jess went to college on a rowing scholarship and didn’t want to stop competing after she graduated. She was drawn to the sport of triathlon and the aerobic engine she had built in college served her well.

She rose quickly through the ranks and after taking the top overall amateur spot at Ironman 70.3 Worlds, she decided to turn professional. Her debut at Ironman Arizona went well and her confidence began to grow as it seemed that progress would be steady and predictable.

But as with life, endurance sports are anything but predictable. There are hundreds of variables to account for in an Ironman and sometimes the body just doesn’t perform as expected. After a few disappointing results some doubts may have appeared.

It was about this time in her career that we met with her. We had known Jess as an amateur and had hoped that one day she would wear Coeur.

We knew she was in the process of reviewing and making changes to her routine and success was anything but assured.

But it didn’t really matter because, while the desire to sponsor someone who could get results did figure into our thinking, it was far from the most important element. We wanted to sponsor Jess because she was first and foremost a good person. She was a consistent promoter of health and fitness and you couldn’t help but smile when you were around her. In other words, we just really liked her. So, we flew Jess and her friend, Coeur co-founder Hailey Manning, down to Los Angeles for a few days. Over the course of the weekend, we mentioned that, if the stars aligned, we’d be honored to sponsor her. A couple months later, we got our wish and Jess joined the Coeur team.

Jess Smith getting off airplane

We asked Jess to practice her "Heart" gesture when she came down to L.A.

Then she dove head first into a complete overhaul of her program. She started working with new coaches, modified her training and her diet and then went to work. She showed promise in Honu at the 70.3 and then last weekend, it came together.

She lined up on the start line of Ironman Coeur d’Alene which is not only one of the more storied races on the circuit but it is also one of the tougher ones (not that any Ironman is easy).

Jess used a strong swim to come out of the water in second place and held on to that spot by throwing down the second fastest bike female bike split. Super runner and Ironman Texas champ, Kelly Williamson moved by her after the bike but Jess dug in and took home the third place pro spot with a very solid run.

When she crossed the line, she showed what got her on the podium. It was that tremendous heart of hers. Congratulations on a great race Jess!

Jess Finishing Race

The pre-race practice "heart gesture" practice paid off at the IMCDA finish

 You live and race with true heart and courage. We’re honored to be associated with you.