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Sarah Reinersten to Participate in Shawnee Mission Triathlon on July 8
POSTED: 06/20/2007
An athlete who runs with a prosthetic leg and whose story has inspired many not to give up on their dreams is among those planning to compete in the 23nd Annual Shawnee Mission Triathlon on July 8, Johnson County Park and Recreation District officials recently announced. The race will take place beginning at 7 a.m. at Shawnee Mission Park, 7900 Renner Road, Shawnee and Lenexa.

Sarah Reinersten, 31 is being brought to the Shawnee Mission Triathlon with the assistance of the TriKC Triathlon Club.

Born with a condition which caused her left leg to stop growing, she became an amputee at age seven and has gone on to become a more accomplished athlete than most people who walk normally on two legs. She competes around the world as a spokesperson for athletes with disabilities and is also a motivational speaker.

Reinersten lost her leg at age seven due to a birth defect. Her leg was deformed with a condition called proximal femoral deficiency. She maneuvered on a stiff leg brace from the age of 11 months to seven years, when the decision was made to amputate the leg. In her grade school years, no one would have considered that she might have the potential to complete triathlons, as she was always last on field day and was the last picked for team activities. Her teachers and coaches did not include her in regular play with other children and instead she would often kick a ball against a wall. She eventually discovered her talents and never looked back. She has dedicated her life to reaching new heights and teaching people not to accept the limitations others place on them. Her motto is "Don't give up on what you believe in. Not once. Not ever."

In November 2005, Reinersten became the first female amputee to ever complete the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon World Championship. The grueling race requires competitors to swim 2.4 miles in turbulent waters, then bike 112 miles, and end with a 26-mile marathon run. Reinersten finished in 15 hours, five minutes. In December 2005, she was on the cover of Runners World magazine.

In 2006, she was a contestant on CBS's Emmy-winning reality series, The Amazing Race where she took on a series of stiff physical challenges in locations throughout the world (her team came in seventh of 12). In July 2006, Reinersten received the Entertainment Sports Premiere Network's (ESPN) Excellence in Sports Performance (ESPY) as the Best Female Athlete with a disability. She was among athletes featured in the June 2006 book, Women Who Run by Shanti Sosienski. In 2004, she was inducted into the San Diego Sports Hall of Fame.

Among her many other accomplishments, Reinersten: set world records in the 100-, 200-, and 400-meters in her division; she was the youngest member of the 1992 U.S. Paralympic team to go to Barcelona; and she conquered seven marathons: New York City, 1997 and 1998; Los Angeles, 1998 and 1999; Millennium New Zealand, 2000; London, 2002; and Boston, 2004. She also holds world records in the marathon and half-marathon for above-knee amputee women.

In addition to competing in the Shawnee Mission Triathlon, Reinersten will also make an appearance during packet pickup for the event between 3 and 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 7, under a tent in the transition area near the Shawnee Mission Park Marina.

For more information about the Shawnee Mission Triathlon, call (913) 831-3359 or register online at through July 2.

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