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From Weight Loss to Triathlons: Allison Cassatta’s Journey in Endurance Sports

From Weight Loss to Triathlons: Allison Cassatta's Journey in Endurance Sports Run Tri Bike
Allison Cassatta
Year started: 2015
Next race: July 14th / Lane Purser Memorial Road Race Series / Memphis, TN
Favorite gear:
  • Mizuno and Hoka shoes.
  • CVG (Constantly Varied Gear) shorts/ capris
  • Injini toe socks for half marathons and higher

In 2015, Allison Cassatta found herself at a crossroads. Like many of us, she started running to lose weight, not out of any particular love for the sport. “I really didn’t have any interest in it, at all,” Allison recalls. “I was just trying to lose some weight. That was it.” The convenience of a 24-hour gym five minutes from her house made it easy to start walking, which later evolved into running. However, like many who embark on a weight loss journey, Allison hit a dreaded plateau. How she went from weight loss to triathlons and ultras will inspire many to get started.

The turning point came when a coworker invited her to participate in a “Run or Dye” 5K event. Initially reluctant, Allison eventually agreed, drawn by the promise of fun and camaraderie. The experience was a revelation. “I had the time of my life,” she says. The fun of the event and the support of her friends began to change her perception of running.

Discovering the Joy of Running

Allison’s journey into running wasn’t a solitary one. Another friend introduced her to a hip-hop dance class, which she also fell in love with. This combination of running and dancing kept her active and engaged. “I was having fun, and I was dancing, and the dancing was so much cardio,” she explains. It wasn’t long before her friend suggested joining the Memphis Runners Track Club’s women’s run/walk program. Despite initial resistance, Allison gave in after multiple invitations. “The first one, it’s a couch to 5K and we would go out for 20 minutes total,” she recounts. The gradual buildup of running and the supportive environment helped her overcome her reluctance.

Embracing the Challenge

By 2017, Allison had completed her first half-marathon and soon after, her first marathon. “It became unbelievable,” she admits. Her love for running grew, and she decided to push her limits further by adding swimming and cycling to her routine. She began participating in local triathlons, and despite the challenges, she found success and joy in these new endeavors. “I’d done a couple of small local triathlons, and I actually got Athena master at one of them, so I was pretty proud of that.”


The Ironman 70.3 Experience

The pinnacle of Allison’s triathlon journey came when she decided to tackle the Ironman 70.3 Augusta. The event was grueling, with temperatures soaring and the course proving to be extremely challenging. “The worst part of it is you’re on black asphalt for a long time and it had a heat index of 103,” she recalls. Despite the difficulties, Allison completed the race, an accomplishment that filled her with pride and a sense of achievement.

The Ultra Marathon Leap

Allison’s adventurous spirit didn’t stop at triathlons. Encouraged by friends, she ventured into the world of ultra marathons. Her first ultra was the Yeti Trail Runners’ race, a 55K that took place on the picturesque Virginia Creeper Trail. The beauty of the course and the camaraderie among participants made the experience unforgettable. “For at least 20 miles, you had a river run along the trail. And I’m talking about waterfalls, so you can hear that beautiful water flowing the whole time,” she reminisces.

The Support System

Allison credits much of her success to her support system, particularly her husband. His presence at her races and his encouragement have been crucial in her journey. “Of course, my husband  was hanging out at the finish line, and when I came across the finish line he’s screaming and hollering my name,” she says. The emotional support and shared celebrations of her achievements have made the challenges more bearable and the victories sweeter.

Advice for Beginners

For those just starting out in endurance sports, Allison emphasizes the importance of patience and gradual progress. She discussed  the need to start slow and build up endurance over time. She also stresses the value of having fun and finding joy in the activity, rather than focusing solely on performance or weight loss. “The losing weight became secondary to feeling strong. Being able to enjoy going from weight loss to triathlon and ultras has been a blast” she explains.

The Importance of Genuine Conversations

Allison’s journey has also taught her the value of genuine conversations and connections. Whether it’s sharing experiences with friends or encouraging others to take up the sport, the community aspect has been a significant part of her journey. “The bug, you know how it works. It bit hard, and it escalated quickly,” she says, describing how her initial reluctance turned into a passion for endurance sports.

Staying Positive

Maintaining a positive attitude is crucial in the world of endurance sports. Allison has learned to use humor and positivity to cope with the challenges she faces. “I seek positive conversation but I also use the mute and block button. I don’t need that negativity in my life,” she says about dealing with negativity on social media. Her approach to staying positive includes focusing on the joy of the sport and the supportive community around her.

Future Goals

Looking ahead, Allison is not ruling out new challenges. While she is still hesitant about tackling a 100-mile ultra marathon, she hasn’t completely dismissed the idea. “I don’t know. We’ll have to see,” she says, leaving the door open for future adventures.

Allison Cassatta’s journey in endurance sports proves that setting goals and embracing challenges is key to success. Her story serves as an inspiration for those looking to go from weight loss to triathlons, ultra marathons, 5k or anything in between.