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Timex Watch to Triathlete: Phaedra Kennedy’s Transformation Story

Timex Watch to Triathlete: Phaedra Kennedy's Transformation Story Run Tri Bike
Phaedra Kennedy
Year started: 1999
Next race: March 24th / Around the Bay 15 km / Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Favorite gear:
  • Saucony Endorphin Speed 3’s
  • Lululemon Track That Short
  • Incylence socks
  • Castelli PKPC Custom Singlet

Champions aren’t made from nothing. It takes time, perseverance, grit, determination and a bit of grace. Championship aspirations are typically not what is on our mind when we decide to go for our first run. Oftentimes, that first run is awful and we want to quit. Something keeps us going and before we know it we are registering for events and have spent decades in sport. Phaedra Kennedy’s story is not much different from the rest of us. From humble beginnings to competing in world championships, we go through Phaedra’s journey from a timex watch to triathlete competing on the world championship stage. 

Starting Line: Timex Watch To Triathlete Journey Begins

Phaedra Kennedy’s entrance into endurance sports didn’t begin with grand ambitions or elaborate training plans. Instead, it started with a simple desire to make a change. Reflecting on her early days, Phaedra recalls, “I started with a Timex watch and a pedometer. There was nothing available that I knew of. So it was like, ‘okay, well, how far can I run without dying, basically?’”

Like many beginners, Phaedra started with a combination of uncertainty and determination. She adopted a run-walk approach, gradually increasing her mileage and pushing her limits. “I started with a two-minute run, one-minute walk,” she explains. “And then I just kept building on that, adding a little bit more each week.” The Timex watch to triathlete journey began but she didn’t know it was happening.

Discovering Purpose: Running as Solace and Self-Discovery

For Phaedra, running initially served as a means to lose weight and reclaim her health. However, as she got more involved in the sport, she discovered a newfound sense of purpose and community. “Running became my solace, my me-time,” she shares. “It was a way to process my emotions and figure out what I wanted to do with my life.”

As her confidence grew, Phaedra set her sights on new challenges. She began participating in races, starting with local 5ks and gradually progressing to longer distances. “I made it my mission to do a race every month,” she recalls. “I remember my first race, the Run for the Cure. It was a cause dear to my heart, and crossing that finish line was exhilarating.”

Triathlon Aspirations: Gary’s Influence and Phaedra’s Determination

Phaedra’s journey took a pivotal turn when she met her future husband, Gary, a seasoned triathlete. Inspired by his dedication and passion for the sport, she decided to venture into triathlon herself. “I watched him train for an Ironman, and I thought, ‘I am going to do this,'” she recounts. “But I’m not one to just jump right in. I wanted to go through the process, starting with shorter distances.”

Phaedra’s progression from duathlons to half Ironman races culminated in her ultimate goal: completing a full Ironman. Despite facing setbacks and challenges along the way, including injuries and self-doubt, she persevered, driven by a determination to succeed.


Triumph and Transformation: Crossing the Finish Line and Beyond

In 2006, Phaedra crossed the finish line of her first Ironman. This monumental achievement marked the culmination of years of hard work and dedication. “I was petrified,” she admits. “But I knew I had to conquer my fears and push through the pain to reach that finish line.”

From there, Phaedra’s journey took her to new heights, including qualifying for world championships and earning accolades in her age group. Her success led her to wanting to help others be successful at sport. Success would be defined by the athlete and Phaedra would be there to guide them.

Coaching Compassion: Phaedra’s Transition to Guiding Others

Phaedra found fulfillment in coaching others and sharing her passion for endurance sports. “Coaching was never really on my radar until people started asking for my help,” she reflects. “I realized that I could make a difference in other people’s lives by sharing my knowledge and experience.”

In 2016, Phaedra made the bold decision to leave her corporate job and pursue coaching full-time. “I couldn’t see myself working in that industry for another decade,” she says. “I was 45 and after much prodding from Gary, I started my own business, and never looked back.”

Today, Phaedra continues to inspire others through her coaching and her own athletic endeavors. Her story is a reminder that the path to success is often filled with obstacles and uncertainties. But with perseverance, passion, grace and a willingness to embrace new challenges, anything is possible. The ability to go from Timex watch to triathlons and beyond is inside all of us.

Every Step Shapes the Destination

As Phaedra herself puts it, “The journey from where you start to where you end up may not always be linear, but every step along the way shapes who you become. And sometimes, the destination turns out to be even better than you imagined.”

When you put your running shoes on for the first time, or clip into the pedals on your bike there may not be a vision of crossing the finish line at the World Championships. Your vision may be that you are going to cross the finish line of your race. Don’t wait. Start writing your timex watch to triathlon story today. As Phaedra told us, “Everything takes time. It’s going to take however long it takes. You need to be consistent. You need to be diligent and patient.” Trust her, you will get here.