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May 2023

Athlete Spotlight - Jeremy Skinner

I first heard of Jeremy Skinner through a mutual friend, Mark Smith, who told me about this crazy friend of his who was doing over an 8 MILE swim, in the ocean, somewhere in Florida.  I finally met Jeremy at the Memphis 70.3, and shortly after that race in 2022 we started working together.  Dedicated, determined, and a long-distance athlete for sure, it has been so inspiring to watch him pursue his goals, and keep striving and challenging himself to be the best he can be.  Here is his story . . . 


Jeremy Skinner

Wife is Angie: Married for almost 20 years
Daughter is Isabella:  Age 13


I started running around 2006. It all started with a random conversation about a “marathon” at a poker game.  I didn’t really know what it was and never really ran much but said, “hey, sounds fun. I’ll train with you”. Little did I know that was just the beginning of what was to come. After the first and “only” marathon, then came another, and another, different states, etc.
After a hip injury in 2012, I was told to back off on the running and did just that. Around 2015, I decided to get into triathlon. A friend of mine told me that there are multiple disciplines, and you didn’t run as much.  I did a few aqua bikes and a couple of sprints and then decided to go for a 1/2 Ironman in New Orleans in 2016. After that, I decided to challenge the idea of completing a full ironman and did just that in 2017 in Whistler, B.C. Canada. Then as with most of us triathletes, that wasn’t good enough. So I decided to keep going and just completed Ironman # 5 in 2022 and targeting many more in the future. 


And if the Ironman scene wasn’t enough, I was “convinced” to try out marathon swimming and completed an almost 9-mile open water swim in Islamorada, FL (completed twice and already signed up for a third time). And let’s just say that I have never been a fan of swimming and have always considered swimming just a formality of triathlon! I will admit that it seems I have finally swum through the “I hate swimming” phase and actually enjoy it now. 


That leads me to where we are today- being fortunate enough to receive coaching from Kirsten Sass. I knew of the name several years back from a local triathlon and was introduced years later through a mutual friend. I have kicked around getting a coach to get to the next level but never really did it. Then after racing Memphis 70.3 on a couple of occasions, I found out that Kirsten coached and decided that if I am going to receive coaching, I wanted to be coached by someone that I know is a true athlete and that practices what they preach. When Kirsten said that she would bring me on and coach me, I have to say my whole outlook changed on my seriousness of the sport.
Here is how successful Kirsten’s coaching has been in just a short time for me. Kirsten starting coaching me just 5 weeks before Ironman Arizona in 2022. Within that short five weeks, she was able to fine tune my training to bring me across the finish line of Ironman # 5 with a PR of 45 minutes over my previous PR. If that wasn’t good enough, just a short 8 weeks after Ironman Arizona, Kirsten was able to train me up to finally cross the finish line of a marathon and qualify for Boston. I always talked about this and got close in 2010 but never did it until now- 13 years later! 

Jeremy Race.PNG

Within a short timeframe, Kirsten has helped me reach a couple of goals that I wasn’t sure were still possible. Instead of simply “completing” these events like I had been, with the help of Kirsten, I am now focusing on trying to find my true potential and to see just exactly how fast and far I can go. The funny part about this all is that I waited until I was 46 to start taking this seriously! I am super excited and feel privileged to have Kirsten Sass guiding me along the way in this journey! 


To date since 2006 when I started, I have completed:
2 marathon swims (8+ miles) plus a third on the way. 
15+ full marathons (not counting IM’s)
Lost count of half marathons! LOL
5 Ironman’s
11 70.3’s 
Numerous sprint and Olympic triathlons over the years 


Next up on Jeremy's list is Ironman Tulsa on May 21st.  Wishing you the best race possible - race your race, trust your training, and always, always - keep moving forward!

Athlete Spotlight - Jake Brown

Please allow me to introduce Jake Brown.  I have been working with Jake since about June of 2022.  Here is his story:
My name is Jake Brown and I am 34 years old. I was born and raised in McKenzie, Tennessee. While living in Florida for a few years I met my wife Melissa who was on vacation from Canada. We currently live in McKenzie with our two children Graeme and Sloane. I have always been fascinated by endurance sport and in the summer of 2022 I decided I wanted to make the leap into a new challenge. In July I took a swimming lesson with Kirsten because I had always loved to swim but needed some coaching. Who better than to ask one of the best, and not to mention she was located right here in my hometown. After making the leap I then bought a road bike and have become very committed to running.
Currently I have completed 3 5ks over the last several months and want to continue to find bigger and tougher challenges. I knew I was on the right path having Kirsten as my coach was when each of my 5k times were faster than the previous race. Kirsten has made all of this enjoyable by being a personable coach who truly cares for your success to become the athlete you want to be. She makes a weekly plan for me that is easy to follow so I know exactly what I need to do. My biggest goal is to one day complete my first 70.3. With her wisdom of years of triathlon and phenomenal coaching I feel reassured that it will only be a matter of time. I will forever be indebted to her for helping me become the athlete I want to be. 
Sometime around December, Jake decided he wanted to run a marathon.  On April 29, he ran his first marathon - the Muddy River Marathon in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.  in 4 hours and 34 minutes!!!
It has been so fun to watch the progress Jake has made . . . and I can't wait to see what he does next.  He embodies one of my favorite quotes . . . Keep Moving Forward.  Set a goal, work for it, complete it, repeat.  Keep challenging yourself to be the BEST version of YOU.