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Finding Strength Through Adversity: How Cristy Kennedy Overcame an Eating Disorder to Thrive

Finding Strength Through Adversity Cristy Kennedy Run Tri Bike

Endurance sports have a way of shaping individuals in profound ways, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. For Cristy Kennedy, her journey into the world of endurance sports wasn’t just about pushing her physical limits; it became a path towards redemption and self-discovery. From battling with an eating disorder since her teenage years to finding peace and strength through races like Ironman, Cristy’s story is an example of finding strength through adversity.

Discovering the Passion: From High School Cross Country to Ironman

Cristy’s journey into endurance sports started innocently enough, driven by a desire to stay in shape for basketball during her sophomore year in high school. Little did she know that this decision would start a lifelong passion. “I could hardly run two, 3 miles at a time when I started,” she recalls, “but I ended up loving it a lot.” As her passion for running grew, so did her involvement in endurance sports. From competing in marathons to tackling the challenge of an Ironman, Cristy’s journey was marked by a relentless pursuit of her athletic aspirations.

The Burden of Expectations: Struggling with an Eating Disorder

However, amidst her athletic achievements, Cristy was battling demons of her own. “My eating disorder had actually started way before I started doing triathlons,” she admits. The pressure to perform, coupled with societal expectations of thinness equating to speed, fueled her disorder. “I saw other athletes and thought I could get faster if I did what they did,” she reflects. Despite excelling in races, her disorder cast a dark shadow over her achievements, affecting her both physically and mentally.

Concealing the Struggle: The Silent Battle Within

Throughout her journey, Cristy learned to mask her struggles, presenting a facade of normalcy to the world. “People just thought, ‘Oh, she’s really thin and in shape because she works out all the time,'” she recalls. Hiding her disorder from friends and family became second nature, further isolating her from the support she desperately needed. Despite her outward success, internally, Cristy was fighting a relentless battle against her own body and mind.


A Moment of Revelation: Embracing Recovery

It wasn’t until a series of health scares and a pivotal conversation with her now-husband Keith that Cristy realized the gravity of her situation. “I woke up one morning, and it was just kind of a series of events that happened,” she recounts. A cracked tooth served as a wake-up call, propelling her towards recovery. Keith’s unwavering support and love became her guiding light, igniting a newfound determination to confront her disorder head-on.

Embracing Healing: From Struggle to Strength

Cristy’s journey towards recovery was fraught with challenges, but she didn’t waiver. “I went cold turkey,” she shares, an example of her strength. Despite the hardships and setbacks, Cristy remained steadfast in her commitment to healing. “It was hard. It was so hard,” she admits, reflecting on the emotional turmoil of her recovery journey. But with each passing day, she grew stronger, reclaiming her body and her life from the clutches of her disorder.

Finding Liberation in Endurance: Racing Towards Redemption

As Cristy emerged from the depths of her disorder, she found peace in endurance sports. “I qualified for Kona twelve months postpartum,” she recalls, a testament to her resilience and perseverance. With each race, Cristy found redemption, rewriting the narrative of her past struggles and continuing to find strength through adversity. “Every race, I don’t want to feel like that,” she reflects, acknowledging the importance of proper nutrition and self-care in her journey towards healing.

Inspiring Others: A Beacon of Hope

Today, Cristy’s story is one of hope for those battling their own demons. “If somebody is struggling, it’s hard for them to talk to people,” she acknowledges, emphasizing the importance of seeking help. Through her openness and vulnerability, Cristy has become a source of inspiration for countless individuals, proving that healing is possible even in the face of adversity. She shared with me that if she can help one person with an eating disorder by sharing her story then she will keep sharing her story. The openness to discuss what many believe is taboo also allows Cristy to continue her healing process.

Embracing the Journey: A Message of Hope

Cristy’s journey is an example of the power of social media in good and bad. On the surface many will see a successful athlete but hidden away was an eating disorder. Today, she can share her message of overcoming through that same medium.

From the depths of despair to the pinnacle of achievement, she has navigated recovery with grace and resilience. “Once you do [seek help], you just feel so much better,” she affirms. That important statement is a message to many about the power of healing. Through her journey, Cristy reminds us that redemption lies not in the absence of struggle, but in the courage to confront our demons and emerge stronger on the other side. Finding strength through adversity is not easy or simple but it is worth it.


Jason Bahamundi Run Tri Bike Magazine Owner Triathlete Ultra Runner Trail Runner
Jason Bahamundi, founder of Run Tri Bike, is a passionate and accomplished endurance athlete dedicated to proving that there is a spot at the starting line for everybody and every body. With a background deeply rooted in the world of triathlons, running, and cycling, Jason has not only excelled in his personal athletic endeavors but is committed to fostering a supportive and inclusive world of endurance sports. This led him to establish Run Tri Bike, a platform that serves as a hub for enthusiasts to connect, share experiences, and access valuable resources. Jason's genuine enthusiasm for endurance sports, continues to inspire individuals to pursue their goals and embrace the transformative power of an endurance sports lifestyle.