Brian Fallon’s journey in endurance sports began with a painful life event – his divorce with his first wife. To cope and get back in shape, Brian quit smoking, and tried going to the gym, but soon realized it wasn’t fulfilling enough. When he saw a flyer for a duathlon – a run-bike-run race – he was drawn to the challenge. Brian finished 2nd to last in that first race, but something clicked and set him on a path that would ultimately define his career. Brian’s journey would take him down a path of coaching athletes that exemplified grit and perseverance.
I Was Just Totally Hooked
While at that first awards ceremony, Brian saw that grit when he met an athlete who was chatting about using a feeding tube. The athlete was a stomach cancer survivor and had put on a strong performance at the event. Motivated by what he heard, Brian began seeking out more endurance events, raising money for charity to participate in destination triathlons. “The whole experience of the multiple sports, the camaraderie, the triathlon team, and the exhilaration of the race, I was just totally hooked.” Through the help of his swim coach, Brian got a swim coaching certification and began coaching Masters.
All I Do is Keep Learning
After retiring, Brian obtained more certifications and began coaching triathletes full-time. An introduction through a friend led Brian to coach adaptive athletes – those with physical disabilities like amputations or paralysis. He calls coaching adaptive athletes an “adventure,” as each athlete’s abilities require creative, customized training. The challenges invigorate Brian, who says, “all I do is keep learning.” Brian is most impressed by the grit and perseverance his adaptive athletes show. “There is no ‘woe is me!’”
Brian is most inspired by the “amazing grit” of adaptive athletes. Currently, he coaches Kendra Herber, a single below-knee amputee vying for a spot on the 2024 USA Paralympic triathlon team. He and Kendra are collaborating with her local swim coach, facing the uncertainties of a qualifying process delayed by pandemic-era cancellations. The three of them continue to work together with the hope that Kendra can punch a ticket to Paris. Brian notes that Kendra and adaptive athletes like her “will not take no for an answer” when pursuing their goals.
Paying Forward the Inspiration
Brian has built a reputation coaching both able-bodied and adaptive athletes through his business, Aquaterra Coaching. His divorce caused a midlife crisis, but it was the endurance community and the challenge of triathlon that captured Brian’s passion. He continues paying forward the inspiration once sparked by a cancer survivor with a feeding tube. Brian takes pride in supporting athletes like Kendra Herber as they test the limits of human endurance while showing the grit and perseverance of the human spirit.