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Inclusivity at the IRONMAN

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

Autumn is an incredible athlete here at myTEAM TRIUMPH (mTT). When Multiple sclerosis (MS), starting taking away her physical abilities, she felt as if her identity was being stripped. However, she has been an athlete her whole life and she held onto that desire to compete.


When first beginning this journey, she never in her life imagined she would participate in a 5K let alone an IRONMAN. Yes, an IRONMAN triathlon!

Captain Autumn as she crosses the Ironman finish line
Captain Autumn as she crosses the Ironman finish line

On Sunday, September 10, Autumn and her Angels (Susan Davies Sheely, Brent Stefanich, and Tim Muldoon) took on the incredible Ironman triathlon in Madison, Wisconsin. Now this is no small task!


The event starts with a 2 loop swim in Lake Monona, followed by an extremely tough bike course with over 6000 ft of climbing over a span of 112 miles, with some of those climbs being almost a mile long. Lastly, there is a complete marathon run course through downtown Madison and the University of Wisconsin campus.


Through each challenge, Team Autumn remained strong, even after 15 hours of pure dedication. Autumn herself had a rockstar mentality and never failed to make everyone from the spectators, crew, and team genuinely smile.


The IRONMAN Swim

myTeamTriumph Athletes Autumn and Susan
Captain Autumn and Angel Susan before the swim

To start the day, at around 6:30 a.m., Team Autumn headed down to the swim start where Angel Susan would soon pull Captain Autumn in a 2.4 mile swim course. The sun started to rise and the cannon struck at 7:00 a.m. to signal the start of the Ironman Wisconsin.


Susan swam at a great pace and brought Autumn back to shore in about an hour and half later. The team was then ready to transition Autumn to the bike portion of the Ironman Tri. MyTEAM TRIUMPH crew and spectators cheered as Autumn was sent off on the extremely difficult 112 mile course.





The IRONMAN Bike


The next Angel to take over for Team Autumn was Tim. Tim hooked up his bike to Autumn and the two of them were off. The myTEAM TRIUMPH crew gathered in support as the hills were difficult to climb. The team helped assist Autumn and Tim as they treaded through the beautiful Verona area.


Ironman Wisconsin bike course
Captain Autumns view on the bike course

The crew tracked Team Autumn and meet them at some of the most difficult hills. At each stop there were crowds of people eager to cheer on the Ironman athletes. Encouraging signs, booming music, unique costumes, cowbells, and screaming fans all made the experience unforgettable.


Halfway through the bike course, Angel Tim, swapped with Angel Brent to complete the remaining 50 miles. Brent finished strong and soon transitioned to the run where both Brent and Tim were able to run with Autumn to the Ironman finish line.





The IRONMAN Run

The transition for Team Autumn went smooth and everyone was still going strong! All they had left was to finish a complete marathon through the streets of Madison, Wisconsin.

Ironman Wisconsin Run
Angels Brent and Tim as they run with Captain Autumn in downtown Madison

The run course of the Ironman is an amazing experience. The team trucked through the University of Wisconsin campus including Camp Randall Stadium. Yet again, fans, supporters, and volunteers lined the streets around the Capitol building to cheer on all of the competitors.


The sun had set and Team Autumn never wavered. Autumn, Susan, Tim and Brent crossed the infamous Ironman finish line TOGETHER after about 15 hours. Many cheered as myTEAM TRIUMPH showed the importance of inclusion, community, and connection.





"You are an IRONMAN!"

"WE DID IT!!! I'm so grateful for MyTEAM TRIUMPH! From my Angels to staff and volunteers! You all not only made a dream come true but created a dream that I never knew I had!
Crossing the Ironman finish line
Team Autumn as they cross the finish line

Team Autumn became an Ironman that day! They proved that is beauty in providing room for inclusivity, community and connection. The team came together for one common goal and showed that they are truly unstoppable and that Anything is Possible.


"Finding a group of folks that are understanding without treating me as less than the PERSON and ATHLETE I AM has been beautiful for my soul. You all have helped me to not be as afraid of this disease." Autumn said.






For people with varying disabilities, having an event or team provides them the ability to connect with others. People who have disabilities are more likely to experience feelings of isolation due to the lack of opportunities for connection. Programs like myTEAM TRIUMPH give Autumn the space to do what he loves!


HOW YOU CAN HELP CREATE INCLUSIVE COMMUNITIES

myTeamTriumph Disability Inclusion

You can help in support in the goal for disability inclusion by becoming a volunteer, donating, or becoming an mTT athlete.


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