Richard Gillespie

Rocklin, CA

I am not your typical triathlete. At 6 feet 5 inches, 250lbs, I’m what is known as a “big guy” in the triathlon world. A few years ago I was not the most active either. Weighing 320lbs., one day I decided “that’s enough,” made some changes, started working out and lost 90lbs. In 2011 I started running and completed my first race, a 5k, which I had so much fun with that the desire to do more started. It wasn’t until watching my sister complete a sprint triathlon that my competitive nature took over and I decided to start doing triathlons also.

I began with sprints and worked my way up to Olympic distances until completing my first 70.3 at Vineman in 2013. I then decided to tackle IRONMAN Arizona as my first full. I volunteered at the race in 2013 where the atmosphere of the finish line at midnight only solidified my decision. At 4:30 AM I lined up and registered for the 2014 race. Throughout the next year I trained harder than ever before, confident that I would be going home an IRONMAN. However, the weather and my back had different plans. The winds were more than I had prepared for but I got through the bike, however at mile 14 my back completely seized up. Standing there with 12 miles to go a medical car pulled up and I was done.

After coming so far I decided to team up with Smile Train and with the support of the team I became an IRONMAN in November 2015. After having had such an amazing experience I decided to take a break from racing this year to give back and focus on helping others reach their goals.