Guest Blog by Corey McKenna – Sponsored Athlete
My wife, Jennifer, has lived with cystic fibrosis (CF) since birth. CF is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States and 70,000 people worldwide. But this story is not about her battle, it’s about me, who has committed my life to reminding her—and anyone else who will listen—that anything is possible.
I have been a familiar face in the Ironman community. I was awarded the Ford Ironman Everyday Hero at the inaugural 2010 Ironman St. George race as a result of the fundraising I did for my four-year-old niece, who passed away from cerebral palsy. Later that same year, I was the runner-up in the Janus Charity Challenge (at Ironman Arizona) after raising over $41,000 for a scholarship fund I created to benefit the horseback riding therapy program that had brought my niece so much joy.
Being a committed Ironman, I have dropped my name into the lottery for 13 consecutive years. Each year I was met with disappointment, until April 2013 when I learned that 13 was my lucky number.
What made it even better is that I met celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsey. We ended up running the last 8 miles, crossed the finish line together and made it on national TV. It was amazing.
In 2012, my wife and I decided to move to Coeur d’Alene a few years ago because I had promised my wife I would take her away to a place with cleaner air than she’d grown up with in California’s central valley. After our second trip to CdA in 2011, to race, we knew Idaho was where we wanted to be. By that October, I had landed a job as a university professor at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington. The next thing we knew, we had purchased a home and moved. The result? “My health has improved drastically as a result, and most likely has extended my life,” said Jennifer.
In June 2013 I took part in Ironman Coeur d’Alene for the first time as a local. Receiving all the extra attention from the folks in our new hometown made the day even more special as I navigated the course that would ultimately validate my lottery spot to Kona.
This year, I was rewarded for my endeavors by being selected to the inaugural 2014 Klean Athlete Team. It is how I live my life and I have been honored to represent Klean Athlete this year. In the sport of triathlon, I usually jump at the chance to race for any cause, but I also toe the line to make my wife proud. Each swim stroke, spin of the pedal and footstep of the run is dedicated to those who will never cross a finish line, for whatever reason.