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Finding Your Place: How Koren Ann Found Her Passion

Koren Ann is on a journey that exemplifies finding your place.
Koren Ann
Year started: 2011 (Running), First Triathlon (2022)
Favorite gear:

Foggies by SBR Sports

For many, the triathlon seems too daunting – swimming, cycling, and running back-to-back? No thanks. But for Koren Ann, an everyday athlete from Texas, the journey began by just taking that first step. “I grew up swimming but got into running in my 30s,” Koren says. “When I moved to the brutal Texas heat, long runs became unbearable in summer. That’s when the idea of triathlons came up.” Koren Ann’s endurance sports journey is one of finding your place in life.

A Relay Event

Koren had friends doing triathlons who told her about sprint triathlons – a short swim, 10-to-12-mile bike, and 3-mile run. “I thought, I could probably do that.” Before going all-in on a solo triathlon, Koren did a relay event. She was paired with a cyclist while she did the swim and run portions. “I just freaking loved it!” she recalls. Motivated, she bought a used bike and signed up for her first sprint triathlon.

A Supportive Community

While that first race was a chaotic one, Koren was hooked. But as a beginner to cycling and triathlons, she knew she needed a supportive community to learn. That’s where Camille Baptiste came in, hosting beginner-friendly bike rides for Koren to build skills and confidence. “A lot of groups go too hard with 30+ mile rides. Camille really eased me in and helped feed my tri passion.”


Finding Acceptance

Having a welcoming community makes all the difference. Koren took that mindset forward: “My goal now is motivating other beginners wondering if they can do it. If I can with a Craigslist bike, you can too!” For Koren, born in Korea but adopted and raised in Alabama, finding acceptance was tough at times. But the running, swimming, and tri communities provided what she craved. “In those groups, they don’t care about your background. Do you like the sport? Let’s be friends! That’s what I love about these communities.” After two years of relays, Koren increased her swimming involvement by doing open water races.

A Speed Bump

Koren’s ambitions hit a speed bump last year when overtraining caused a calf injury that prevented running for months. “Mentally, it’s been very tough staying strong and being okay with not doing long distances.” With cross-training and eventually adding walk/run intervals, she’s worked her way back, with plans to do a 5K on Global Running Day as part of an ambassador program for Fleet Feet.

SBR Sports

Looking ahead, Koren aims to do more sprint tris and shorter road races while her calf keeps healing. She recently joined SBR Sports Inc. as an ambassador, hoping to help others using her platform. “I’m super excited to share some of their products with my tri groups and meetups,” she says. Koren cites the Foggies as her favorite SBR product.

You Don’t Have to Be a Lifelong Athlete

Koren’s journey shows you don’t have to be a lifelong athlete to get into endurance sports. With small steps, a supportive community, and passion, anyone can discover new athletic loves that challenge and fulfill them. Being of a Korean background and being raised in Alabama, Koren Ann found her people in the Texas triathlon circles. Her journey is an example of finding your place to chase your most authentic self.