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Sian Welch to Participate in Shawnee Mission Triathlon
POSTED: 06/14/2006
 
A professional triathlete who is one of the most decorated women in Ironman history is among those planning to compete in the 22nd Annual Shawnee Mission Triathlon on July 9, Johnson County Park and Recreation District officials recently announced. The triathlon will take place beginning at 7 a.m. at Shawnee Mission Park, 7900 Renner Road, Shawnee and Lenexa.

Sian Welch, 40, of Encinitas, Calif., is being brought to the Shawnee Mission Triathlon with the assistance of the TriKC Triathlon Club.

Born in England, Sian moved to Los Angeles when she was four. By age 11, she had developed into a serious ice skater and for four years, she woke up regularly at 4:15 a.m., skated for three hours in the morning, followed by another three hours in the afternoon. She later burnt out on ice skating, but went on to major in exercise physiology at San Diego State University, where a friend introduced her to triathlon. She finished fifth in her age group at her first event and eventually met her husband, retired Australian triathlete Greg Welch. Sian went on to win a U.S. National Championship at the Olympic distance and Ironman Australia 1998 in a time of 9 hours, 15 minutes. Her ten-year pro race resume includes top-five finishes at the Chicago Triathlon, Ironman Hawaii, the Leguna Puket Triathlon, the World Nature Games, and the St. Croix Triathlon, while taking first place at the Internancional Mar del Plata Triathlon, Pucon International Triathlon, and La Serena Triathlon.

In April of 2000, Sian's husband, Greg, was forced to abruptly retire from sports because of a medical condition that caused his heart to race up to 300 beats per minutes. As a result, and to concentrate on Greg, who underwent seven heart surgeries, Sian retired three months later and concentrated on the couple's two young daughters and her successful real estate career.

With Greg's health improved and their daughters in preschool, Sian returned to sports in 2005. She took home the 35-39 age group title at the Hawaiian Ironman on minimal training. She hopes to return to Hawaii this year and finish as a pro in the top 10. With her return to sports, Sian brings a new perspective in which she concedes triathlon now ranks no higher than fifth in her life, behind her religious faith, husband, children, and career.

The Shawnee Mission Triathlon is sponsored by the Johnson County Park and Recreation District. For more information, call (913) 831-3359 or register online at www.active.com through July 5.

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