In Women's Triathlon, She's a Force For Good
She’s smart, funny and is an incredible force for good in Women's Triathlon. Today, we’re spending some time with Coeur Ambassador, Hawaii Ironman finisher, Women For Tri Board Member, Coach, Founder of the Jersey Girls Triathlon Club and so much more…Moira Horan.
Coeur: Moira, thank you so much for chatting with us today. You're incredibly active and well known in the endurance sports community, especially in the Northeast, but for folks who haven't met you yet, can you tell us how you got into triathlon?
Moira: I joined a gym the last time I quit smoking (2 plus packs a day) and first was walking then started running. I had no idea about how to train and promptly got s stress fracture. A friend in the local running community gave me s bike he had picked up on the curb on big trash day and another friend took me to a masters swim class. Later that year I saw a local sprint triathlon and thought it looked like fun. This was back in the mid-90s and I've never looked back or had another cigarette!
Coeur: You live in New Jersey and you started the Jersey Girls Triathlon Club. Can you tell us a bit about the club and its goals?
Moira: The Jersey Girls StayStrong Multisport Club in the beginning was a group of beginner women triathletes who were preparing for the Jersey Girl Triathlon, a local all-women triathlon here at the Jersey Shore that I co-founded in 2010.
I realized that there were a lot of women who just needed a little bit of encouragement and support to take those first steps to a healthier lifestyle and felt that a Club could provide just that. My goal is to continue to be a place where women can be part of a supportive community that will share information and experience with each other and show by example that anyone can Tri if they are willing to put in the time to get to the starting line
Coeur: You're also involved in the Women For Tri initiative. How is that going and are you pleased with the results so far?
Moira: I am very pleased, and I am still so honored to be part of it. When it was first announced I felt it was an extension of what I was already doing. In just a year and a half I really believe we have accomplished a lot of positive steps to bringing more women into the sport of triathlon from the ground up. One program I am especially proud of is our Tri Club Grants and Collegiate Scholarships. We have distributed two rounds of awards and we've been able to assist ten female college students who participate in their college's triathlon team or club with a grant of $5,000 each and we have awarded grants to 38 triathlon clubs around the country totaling almost $100,000 to help them launch programs designed to increase women's participation in the sport. I've followed these clubs and students and am so impressed with what they have been able to do with the support and it is just so motivating to me.
Coeur: If we're not mistaken, in addition to everything else, you're also a coach. Tell us about your coaching style and how you find the time to do everything you do?
Moira: My goal as a coach is to make sure my athletes get to the start line of their event well prepared, healthy and that the journey is fun! And it should be fun not just for them but also for their family. I try to be as understanding and flexible as possible with scheduling around family and work commitments. I don't coach elite or professional athletes, I love coaching the athlete finding her way back after focusing on career or family, or the person who is trying to find that athlete for the first time as an adult. I truly believe that "if it's not fun, why do it".
Coeur: You do so much to support women in triathlon and have been racing for quite a while. How have you seen things change with respect to women in the sport?
Moira: Yes, very much so. When I first got into this sport there were very few women at any of the races I went to, and very few women to train with - especially on a bike! There are more and more women of all ages, shapes and sizes getting themselves out the door and onto a starting line. Even if you aren’t an “elite” athlete, women are realizing it’s never to late to be active and compete. In the tri-state area there are quite a few all-women triathlon clubs that I am aware of and in central / southern New Jersey there are two large all-women triathlon clubs. (My own Jersey Girls StayStrong and Mullica Hill).
Coeur: Now, we know you've done many Ironman races and you've raced Kona twice. Since Ironman Hawaii will be here before we know it, what advice would you have for someone racing on the Big Island for the first time?
Moira: If it is your first trip to Kona then make sure you take the time to enjoy the experience! I remind first time Ironman triathletes the same thing — don’t let any part of the day be a disappointment to you.
Coeur: Speaking of Ironman Racing, what advice would you have for someone thinking about signing up for their first Ironman race?
Moira: Do it because you feel it is right. If you are going to do longer distance racing there is a bigger time and financial commitment. We should all look at where we are at in our lives and if we have the time and the means to devote to prepare properly without other areas of our life suffering. Look at everything involved, pick a race that you can train for — for example, if you have summers off then a fall race will work well for you. If you can train while your kids are in school then an early spring race works better for you.
Coeur: Moira thank you so much for chatting with us and more importantly, thank you for everything you do to encourage women to live a lifestyle of health and fitness! We are honored to have you on the Coeur team!