FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Alexis Lopez-Buitrago
BLIND TRIATHLETE TO COMPETE IN 2014 GoPro IRONMAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP IN KONA, HAWAII
ALEXANDRIA WOMAN TAKES ON WORLD’S MOST CHALLENGING
ONE-DAY ENDURANCE EVENT
Washington DC, (June 10, 2014) 52-year old Kristina “Tina” Ament of Alexandria, Virginia will compete against 2,000 of the world‟s best triathletes in the 2014 Ironman World Championship, presented by GoPro. The epic event takes place on October 11th in Kona, Hawaii. Tina, who has been blind since birth, is a 2013 Ironman All World Athlete Champion, a four-time Ironman Triathlon finisher, and a member of the Arlington, Virginia-based Team Z.
The Ironman World Championship draws elite and amateur triathletes to the Big Island every October to compete in a grueling 2.4 mile open water swim in Kailua-Kona Bay, followed by a 112 mile bike ride across Hawaii‟s scorching lava desert, finishing with a 26.2 mile run in the peak heat of the day. The competitors will battle 45 mile per hour crosswinds and 95 degree temperatures on the 140.6 mile course, which must be completed within a strict 17 hour time limit.
“To compete at the Ironman World Championship is a dream come true,” says Tina. “It‟s going to be the toughest challenge I‟ve taken on. But I hope my race in Kona will inspire people to chase their dreams, no matter how impossible they seem. After all, the motto of Ironman is „Anything is Possible.‟”
Tina was born with a genetic mutation known as Leber congenital amaurosis RPE65, a rare disorder that impairs vision at birth and worsens over time. To compensate for her lack of vision, Tina is tethered to another participant who serves as a guide during the swim and run segments of a triathlon. She rides a custom tandem bike during the cycling portion. Tina and her guide must meet the same strict cutoff times as sighted competitors. But unlike the others who take on this ultimate test of mind, body, and spirit, Tina does it without seeing the water or road before her.
Tina began competing in triathlons in 2010, and has since trained with Team Z, one of the nation‟s largest triathlon teams. “Kona is the ultimate test of physical and mental toughness, and Team Z is proud to have one of our own toeing the line,” says Team Z Coach Ed Zerkle. “I know Tina will meet the challenge. She has the grit and perseverance of a true champion and has shown us all that anyone can reach their goals, no matter what their perceived limitations may be.”
“I hope that I can change hearts and minds by racing. I‟ve always been blind and just lived my life, going to school and working. I don‟t think there‟s anything particularly special about what I do,” says Tina. “Many people have told me that I have inspired them to give triathlon a try. If they do, or if they just hop on a bike and have fun because of me, then I‟ve done good by just showing up at the start line.”
As part of her training for Kona, Tina will compete in the Challenge Atlantic City long course triathlon on June 29th and Ironman 70.3 Muncie on July 12th. She has completed Ironman Arizona, 2011; Ironman New York City, 2012; Ironman Louisville, 2013; and Ironman Florida, 2013, as well as dozens of shorter distances races.