MORE THAN JUST A PRETTY FACE

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - T1 - KEVIN MACKINNON ED­I­TOR

IT WAS HARD to take her se­ri­ously when she started all of this. She was 33 years old. She had trav­elled the world as a fash­ion model since she was 15, when she was some­how dis­cov­ered by a mod­el­ling agency and, be­fore she knew it, was on a plane to Ja­pan all by her­self. I wrote my first story about Jenny Fletcher be­cause our photo ed­i­tor re­ally wanted to use a pic­ture he’d found of her on the cover of the mag­a­zine. At that point she was rac­ing as an “elite am­a­teur” and had vi­sions of try­ing to make it to the Olympics. After talk­ing to her I be­gan to take her a bit more se­ri­ously. Turns out she was ac­tu­ally a re­ally good ath­lete. Grow­ing up in Red Deer, Alta. she was one of those “do it all” kind of kids. Tap, jazz, ballet, horse­back rid­ing, track and field, vol­ley­ball, basketball – you name it, she was do­ing it. By the time she was 16 she

was com­pet­ing on the Cana­dian mod­ern pen­tathlon team, com­pet­ing at both the ju­nior and se­nior world cham­pi­onships.

Even­tu­ally try­ing to haul fenc­ing equip­ment, rid­ing gear and a gun around the world while on var­i­ous mod­el­ling gigs was too much. She gave up the pen­tathlon dream and moved to New York where, when she wasn’t work­ing, she spent her time as a “gym junkie.”

So, while it was a bit eas­ier to en­vi­sion that Fletcher could do well in the sport, I was never sure she would ac­tu­ally be able to make a ca­reer out of it. I’m happy to re­port that she most cer­tainly has.

“I wanted to prove that I wasn’t just com­ing in as a pretty face,” she says. “I trained my butt off for four years with Siri Lind­ley. The first year [as a pro] was very hum­bling – you go from win­ning all your races as an am­a­teur and then, in my first pro race, I found my­self lined up next to Laura Ben­nett and Mirinda Car­frae. When I got out of the wa­ter my bike was the only one still on the rack. I was so hum­bled by the cal­i­bre of what it means to be a pro.”

What I hadn’t re­al­ized dur­ing that first in­ter­view and have now come to truly re­spect in Fletcher is her drive to suc­ceed. She took her first pro ti­tle at Iron­man 70.3 Bran­son in 2012 and has lots of top fin­ishes on her re­sumé.

Last year, at 40, Fletcher fig­ured she was in her fi­nal year of rac­ing as a pro triath­lete. She de­cided to get all her bucket list races out of her sys­tem, in­clud­ing her first full-dis­tance race at Chal­lenge Roth.

“In my head, by the time I got to Oc­to­ber, I thought I was done,” she says. When she reached out to her spon­sors, though, she was pleas­antly sur­prised to learn that they were ea­ger to sup­port her for at least an­other year.

It was a smart move on their part. Fletcher started the 2017 sea­son with a win at the Is­ra­man Triathlon in Is­rael. Fletcher, at 41, re­mains a spon­sor’s dream. Not only does pretty much any­thing you put on her, or put her on, sud­denly look re­ally, re­ally good, she’s also a fan­tas­tic spokesper­son. She’s smart, very ap­proach­able and out­go­ing.

Jenny Fletcher might live in Los An­ge­les these days, but we’re very proud of the fact that she’s Cana­dian. She’s much more than just a pretty face. She’s ex­actly what we imag­ine of our­selves as triath­letes – hard work­ing, ded­i­cated and ad­dicted to the mul­tisport life.

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