Athlete Profile - Garth Fuller: Like a Fine Wine

a transformation to the garth we know now

a transformation to the garth we know now

If you know Garth Fuller personally, you know that he is a fit top age group athlete.  What you may not know is that Garth did not complete his first triathlon until he was in his 60s.  He has placed first in his age group in several distances – from sprint to Half Ironman.  He nearly always finishes in the top three in his age group, including for Ironman Whistler.  Now nearing his 70s, Garth has no plans to slow down.  This Summer he will participate in ITU Worlds followed by Ironman Barcelona in October.  Garth then plans to refrain from Ironman races until he reaches the 70-75 age group, which will be in 2019. 

Garth has always been active and “outdoorsy.” He played a range of sports with “middle of the road” success.  It wasn’t until he found endurance sports that Garth hit his stride.  He attributes this to his “stubbornness.”  Garth – an avid marathoner since his 30s – still runs marathons.  He ran the Ottawa Marathon in May of this year.

Like so many avid athletes, Garth’s running took a back seat to raising a family.  He continued to run once or twice a week.  However, he did not run at the same frequency he had in his 30s.  Over the coming years, he slowly put on weight.  This added up to fifty pounds over ten years.  After looking at the photos from a family vacation to Hawaii, Garth decided it was time to renew his relationship with endurance sports.  In 2009, he ran the Las Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon.  Then, incredibly, he qualified for Boston in the 2010 Ottawa Marathon – after 30 years of trying!  Garth completed the Boston Marathon in 2011.

By this point, Garth had regained his fitness and was running better than ever.  However, running had lost its lustre.  Searching for creative ways to stay in shape, Garth signed up for a “Try a Tri” program.  He enjoyed the experience so much that he jumped in “full bore.”  He completed his first Ironman the next year.

Garth says that it doesn’t really take much to keep him motivated.  He enjoys each sport tremendously, though he says that he has been running so long that it is “simply…a part of” him.  Rather, he describes his relationship with endurance sports as part of a daily routine.  In fact, Garth says that he has a difficult time “doing nothing.”  However, in the times where he dreads getting out in bad weather or when he isn’t feeling his best, he looks to the “infectious” enthusiasm, will, and determination of his fellow TriStar athletes.

When asked who he looks up to Garth had this to say:

As for influential other Human Beings – without hesitation Wendy Garrett and I met in late 2011 through TriStars/Carolyn Gebbie as ‘co-Penticton Ironman newbies’ – We trained together continually for 2012 Ironman, and over the years, at times inseparably, and others in our own separate ways. For me, Wendy has always been the spark to get me out there on the days and times when I felt I wanted to slack off or quit. Diana Thaxter is another of my fav “training buddy’s” and both she and Wendy’s abilities are beyond anything I can exceed but always the bar for which I wish to achieve – my attempts to catch them on an Observatory climb, a 1,500 metre Thetis swim or run them down in Ironman have always been dashed – but by pushing to hopefully one day be as good, motivated, strong, talented and overall amazing makes Wendy and Diana my ‘spark’ and clearly my inspiration(s). Taken from Wendy’s initiative and inspiration I will have the privilege of joining she and Diana at Ironman Barcelona in October.
— Garth Fuller

Garth tends to take the sport in stride.  He doesn’t view hard work as hurdles or challenges.  While one can hear him whine during an arduous workout, it is more to commiserate and make others laugh than it is about negativity.  Instead, what Garth sees is a reward for every struggle.  If it hurts, he knows someone at the end will congratulate him or offer a high five, making every difficult moment worth it. 

When he talks about pride, Garth counts first his children.  He says, “their amazing accomplishments are by far my life long pride and joy.”  He carries this over to his relationship with other TriStars athletes, noting that “associating with and admiring the accomplishments of” his contemporaries brings his great pride.

Garth provides these words of wisdom to other triathletes:

Triathlon (swimming, biking, running, competing, participating, comradery, learning from others, offering help or even inspiring others) provides ‘peace’ – peace of mind, calmness, contentment – a long ride or run offer time to reflect and contemplate surroundings, admire the view, smell the roses and enjoy ‘life.’  When and if a ‘workout’ becomes work, that will be the time to reevaluate? 
— Garth Fuller

When TriStars looks to athletes who "stand out in a crowd" without a doubt Garth Fuller comes to mind. It isn't just that he's a little older than some of us, or because he's accomplished so very much in his athletic career, it is that he is the epitome of a true athlete and an incredible supporter of our sport and all other athletes. 

We are so very lucky to have Garth as part of the TriStars team.  

Thanks Garth. You truly are one of a kind.