Our athlete feature this week is Reverend Michael McDuffie, who trains with our Prince William team! Michael is new to endurance sports, and just completed his first triathlon. After finishing a century ride on Labor Day 2018, he almost immediately wanted to persist in endurance sports, and he found EF and started training for his first triathlon in November of the same year!
His road to finishing his first triathlon has required surmounting the first barrier of learning to swim. In addition to learning to swim, though, Michael has also learned many other skills that have carried over into other area of his life. As a husband, a student earning a second master’s degree, and a reverend serving God’s people in ministry, his life has many challenges and worthy tasks vying for his time. However, completing the cross-training necessary for triathlon has helped him to fully focus on one thing at a time and perform better in all areas of his life.
Michael has been surprised and welcomed by the supportive environment of athletes around him at EF and at races. He did not participate in any sports growing up, so coming into triathlon he was expecting “muscle-bound super athletes”. However, he was pleasantly surprised that many of the athletes he talked to were people that started from a similar place as he did- square one. The support of those around him helps him in racing and training, as well as his faith that he can do all things that Christ supplies the strength for.
Michael’s first triathlon was a memorable one. Coming into the race with the most challenging event first, Michael queued up to get into the pool and then was off when his wave was called. As he worked along in the swim, he kept his stroke easy and relaxed taking short breaks as he went along. By the time he reached his last two laps, he realized he was the last person in the pool from over 1,000 people racing in the event! Coach Mike Crossin had mentioned to the announcer that this was Michael’s first triathlon and he had just learned to swim, so everyone along the pool deck joined in cheering Michael on.
He was determined to “beat himself” and finish the swim, and that attitude carried through to the rest of the competition. After high fives from those watching as he exited the pool, Michael pushed on to gain back some positions on the run and the bike. He was last out of the water, but not last across the line.
Michael’s advice to beginners is to take the first step in faith and see what God can do. It was challenging, coming off his first century ride, to add on swimming and running, but Mike loved the challenge and put in the work and saw some amazing results. We can’t wait to see what Mike does next!