Ottawa triathlete aims for historic Ironman finish
Published Friday, July 10, 2009 6:11PM EDT
An Ironman triathlon consists of a 3.8-kilometre swim, a 180-kilometre bike ride, and a full 42.2-kilometre marathon.
Jenny Hopkins has her own trio to battle through: multiple sclerosis, lupus, and myasthenia gravis - a rare neuromuscular disease.
But the 30-year-old Ottawa woman plans to accomplish what many believe impossible for someone in her medical condition: complete the Ironman later this month in Lake Placid, New York.
Hopkins has trained since January for the grueling challenge. She would be considered the first person with MS to complete the event.
"I didn't know if I would make it this far," she told CTV Ottawa. "I didn't know if my body would allow me to.
"It may be not the best objective because of the different side effects of MS, and medications and unpredictability of the disease. I'm going to take it one day at a time - my sight is at the end to complete the race."
Another goal is to raise money for MS research in hopes of finding a cure.
"Hopefully it would be motivating to other people with MS, that they'll be able to recognize that you can still reach your goals and objectives," Hopkins said.
Her effort has inspired coach Jane Armstrong, who called Hopkins mentally tough.
"Jenny has the ability to handle anything that's thrown at her," said Armstrong. "She's demonstrated success in the face of adversity, which is something very important in an Ironman.
"You don't know what's going to happen out there and you have to have perseverance, commitment and dedication to get to that finish line. And she has those qualities."
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Vanessa Lee