ATHLETE PROFILE – SASKIA BJORNSON: EMBRACING THE CHALLENGE
Saskia loves the outdoors and all types of athletics, in particular ones that are physically demanding and challenging. Team sports such as volleyball, basketball, and soccer as well as more individual endeavors such as competitive swimming, hiking, and snowboarding have been a major part of her life. Since Saskia suffers from asthma, running has always been especially difficult - as she describes it, when running she felt as though she was breathing through a straw!
Despite her history with running, Saskia says, “I randomly decided to try a sprint triathlon – at the time I didn’t know any triathletes, I didn’t own a bike and I didn’t own proper running shoes. I had no idea what I was doing but went for it and was so proud of my accomplishment. I was hooked!” Running remains the most challenging aspect of triathlon for Saskia – “I have dealt with injuries that have prevented me from ever really finding my stride in running. I never really know what will happen in the run portion of my races!”
When asked about her mentors or heroes, Saskia told us that she admires those who strive to live their lives to the fullest as individuals and believes that a life lived well is heroic. In particular, those she looks “to for guidance and am constantly impressed by are my mother and my 3 siblings. They are all extremely talented, supportive and loving individuals.” Saskia tells TriStars that she is motivated by “good health, happiness and the ability to help others.” As she puts it, “Leading an active and healthy lifestyle is very important to me and fuels my happiness. However, one of my greatest joys in life is helping others and motivating people to be physically active.”
While Saskia’s future goals are always developing, you can find her competing at the 2017 Worlds in Penticton for Aquabike. She also plans her second Ironman in 2018. For Saskia, the most important aspect of her future goals is challenging herself physically and mentally.
As for her accomplishments, Saskia is incredibly proud of her Ironman finish. She states, “Completing an Ironman is a huge accomplishment and if anyone told me 10 years ago I would crush this lofty goal I would have laughed. I am proud that I set my sights on such a challenging endeavor and with hard work and determination made it happen.” She accomplished her Ironman goal with a broken bike seat on her bike! Imagine that, riding 180kms with a seat that was snapped in half. We can’t.
Finally, Saskia adds, “Tristars is a wonderful, open, and caring group. Being part of it has helped as a triathlete but has also provided me with a community of amazing people! Thank you!”
Thank you for being a part of TriStars, Saskia!