Athlete Profile - Kathryn Deegan: Looking to the Future


Like so many of our athletes, Kathryn Deegan is a proud mother. Being a parent can bring about much joy but also many stresses and difficulties when trying to balance our day to day lives.  Kathryn has worked hard to master a balance that works well for her and her family. 

Kathryn had been an active person throughout her youth and university years.  She participated in everything from swimming to dancing to rowing.  Her family regularly engaged in family exercise.  However, once her two daughters were born, her activity level began to dwindle.  Hikes became infrequent.  Swimming became less sport and more family recreation.  She participated in some sports but didn’t maintain the same level of fitness she had in her youth. One thing she did with her family, however, was compete in the TC10k annually.  They have completed the race an amazing 18 times already! 

Moving on a couple decades, Kathryn found herself working at a high stress, sedentary job.  She worked long hours and wasn’t able to spend nearly enough time with her family.  The result of this was that Kathryn found herself gaining weight and getting increasingly depressed.  Unhappy with this lifestyle, three years ago, she made a choice to become a more active person.

With the goal of being able to take care of her adult special needs daughter and play with her grandchildren one day, Kathryn hired a personal trainer.  Her personal trainer helped her understand the depth of her physical and mental strength.  She worked closely with her trainer for a couple of years before feeling ready to tackle what she calls her “post retirement sport.”

Kathryn had been interested in participating in triathlon for years.  One year after completing the TC 10k with her family, Kathryn, she found a pamphlet with the words “My first triathlon” on it. This was something she had always been interested in and felt like she could do, but she never made time for the event.  Years later, Kathryn’s coworker Bob Gebbie spoke to her about his Ironman training and a company he and his wife were starting called TriStars.  She saw TriStars swimming frequently at the Gordon Head Rec Centre.  She heard they were inclusive of all athletes.  In 2015, Kathryn enrolled in the TriStars TriStart program.

Kathryn was the ultimate finisher at the Fort Street Cycle Beginning Tri for MS in 2015.  She loved the challenge so much that she signed up for three more races that year.  As she puts it, she “was hooked!”  Following her finish at the Tri for MS in 2016, Kathryn retired from her day job, which gave her more freedom to pursue her post retirement sport with more vigor.

Like all triathletes, Kathryn experiences challenges.  To her, the bike is the biggest challenge.  Kathryn talks about her relationship with cycling in a way that so many others can understand:

There is something about suspending myself above the ground (I do not like heights at the best of times) on two thin little bits of rubber (that could go pop at any given time) using a tiny piece of cushioning called a seat (drat is that another fold of fabric rubbing me raw) and two slightly padded handle bars (really are my hands going numb again) while trying to steer, change gears, signal, watch traffic, brake, obey traffic signals, drink from my water bottle, anticipate deer/rabbit direction, stay on the road and race all at the same time that I have not managed.  And then there is the confidence required to use clip in pedals.  YIKES!
— Kathryn Deegan

For the future, Kathryn looks to improve her fitness, not only in triathlon performance, but so that she can continue to care for her daughter as needed.  She has completed 2 Tri for MS and 2 sprint triathlons to date.  Her goal is to get her Sprint time under two hours.  At that point, she plans to start training for standard distance triathlons.  Kathryn also hopes to one day cycle “with confidence on the road using clip in pedals!”

When we spoke with Kathryn, we also asked her about who she looks most to for inspiration in her athletic endeavors.  She had this to say:

My Mom is my hero.  She was a very athletic person who always found time for her own activity while being a full time teacher and mother of four involved kids.  I remember her driving back into town to the Y (30 minute drive one way in those days) for yoga classes after a long day at school and driving us four around.  At age 55, she completed her first marathon after only a month of training by running around our block early in the morning.  After she retired, Mom joined the local rowing club and was still competing on the water and on the erg at age 75.

Together Mom and Dad were the best mentors.  They taught us to be active by involving us in many different sports, making us ride or walk to school and activities, and coordinating family activities including swimming, skiing and hiking.  Even after we left home, Mom and Dad were a great example as they continued skiing and took up cycling together.  They joined a cycling club in town and did a number of cycling tours in Europe.  Even now Dad at age 84 is taking an exercise class three times a week and goes for a least a km walk five times a week.

All the TriStars team coaches and athletes have become my instructors and inspiration.  Everyone, beginners to long term triathletes, has experiences to share that I am learning from.  Thank you all!
— Kathryn Deegan

We were thrilled to meet Kathryn in 2015 and since then she's gone on to inspire and motivate us all. Kathryn is walking proof of determination, commitment and drive to succeed in action. We wish Kathryn continued success in reaching her goals and am thankful she chose TriStars to help her shine!