Triathlon Magazine Canada - - FEATURES -

ur­prise of all sur­prises, the “girl next door” was gra­cious in her re­sponse when con­grat­u­lated on the Iron­man Hall of Fame in­duc­tion.

“I didn’t do what I do be­cause of want­ing to get ac­co­lades like that, but it’s a nice way to re­flect on things I’ve done in the past,” she says. “I think that’s the big­gest thing. You do what you do, you go through the mo­tions and you have fun with it. When you fin­ish you’re able to re­flect on it. Some­thing like this makes you ap­pre­ci­ate what you did more.”

It should also not come as a sur­prise that Fuhr has seam­lessly moved from a ca­reer as an ath­lete to one within the sport.

“The last year I raced here I didn’t make it very far out on the bike and said ‘uhuh,’” she said dur­ing an in­ter­view in Kona last Oc­to­ber. “I had given so much of my­self on this course and it takes so much of your­self to be out there. You have to be in a cer­tain place men­tally and I wasn’t there any­more. Phys­i­cally I prob­a­bly could have done it, but men­tally I wasn’t will­ing to put my body through that any­more. I was fine with that. Yeah, it was emo­tional, but I was OK with it. I was happy with ev­ery­thing that I had done and ready to move on. An easy part for me was that I was in­volved in the sport in an­other way al­ready. I had al­ready started work­ing with NA sports at that time. I was still in­volved in the sport. Had I not still been in­volved with the sport it would have been a lot more dif­fi­cult.”

Nowa­days you’ll see Fuhr bounc­ing around at the var­i­ous Iron­man world cham­pi­onship events, tak­ing care of the VIPS and the pros. She seems hap­pi­est when she’s out of the lime­light, but ev­ery now and again, if you look care­fully, you’ll have a chance to see her in ex­actly the same light that in­tern saw her in 2006.

A month af­ter the in­fa­mous “she’s so beau­ti­ful” quote I got to work with Fuhr when we hosted the video cov­er­age of the in­au­gu­ral Iron­man 70.3 World Cham­pi­onship. Five min­utes into the show our ear­pieces crack­led with the news that the he­li­copters couldn’t get up, so there would be lim­ited cov­er­age of the race ac­tion for the first few hours of the show. It be­came the “Kevin and Heather talk show” as we killed time with race re­ports and anec­dotes about the rac­ers. I was as­tounded at just how good Fuhr was in this role – if she had wanted it, a ca­reer in broad­cast­ing could eas­ily be in the cards.

The thing is that the “girl next door” moniker misses out on one crit­i­cal as­pect of what makes Heather Fuhr so much more than just a cute, whole­some, unas­sum­ing gal from Al­berta: a sense of grace that she can turn on and off at a mo­ment’s no­tice. This is a woman who won the beer mile put on by a bunch of the San Diego tri crowd on New Year’s Eve in 2004, chug­ging four beers and run­ning a mile in just over seven min­utes. This is also the woman you’ll of­ten see hand­ing out the awards at the Iron­man World Cham­pi­onship in a form-fit­ting dress and heels, all the while gen­tly co­erc­ing age groupers and pros alike to the right place on the stage. But make no mis­take, when it came to rac­ing, Fuhr held noth­ing back.

“She is very quiet, but deep down she has a lot of drive and, through sport, she was able too show this qual­ity,” says Frey. We all got to see that one year as Fuhr started the marathon at Iron­man Lake Placid in the midst of an in­cred­i­ble rain­storm. The wa­ter run­ning down Main Street as she ran out of T2 was more than six inches deep and ev­ery­thing around looked like a mucky mess. Fuhr couldn’t have cared less. There was a race to be won.

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