July 9th, 2010
10:32 AM ET

Triathlete ready, hopes to encourage others

Back in January, CNN selected six lucky viewers to compete alongside Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta in the Nautica New York City Triathlon this July. Among the "six pack" was Meredith Clark, a newspaper columnist from Tallahassee, Florida.

When Meredith first sent in her iReport, she talked about her personal goals – losing weight and completing a triathlon by the time she was 30 – but also spoke of her desire to use the triathlon as a means to educate her peers.

"79 percent of all non-hispanic african american women in america are overweight," Clark said. "I'd love to use my story to let other women like me know that being fit, and getting in this kind of shape is possible."

Exactly one month after submitting her video, Meredith was in New York City to start her training, and as she expected from the get-go, just having the sheer amount of time in her day needed to compete in a triathlon was her biggest challenge.

"The workouts themselves aren't really difficult," she said. "What I find hard is managing my time. It's hard to stick to that training schedule."

But despite her concerns about time, Meredith has managed to swim nearly three miles a week, bike between 30 and 60 miles per week, and run 10 to 12 miles.

Now, just over a week before the race, she says she has one goal in mind: Finish.

"This is my first race and I want to finish, and that's my plan. I'm already planning to do stuff afterwards to get better, but given my life, and what's going on right now, I wanted to meet this goal for myself."

As for Meredith's progress on educating her peers in the African-American community about their health, she says she has had some success, but needs additional help.

"I was able to encourage a few friends and family members to get moving, but that's not enough. Each woman can find 7-9 women (sorority sisters, co-workers, church members, neighbors) she can challenge to take a greater action to get moving and incorporate physical activity as a part of their daily routine."

soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Christopher


    July 10, 2010 at 01:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Sara Cox Landolt

    Well done Meredith, those kettlebell swings are impressive! I'm excited for you and for your first tri! Remember that any race-day nerves simply show that this event is important to you and you've invested physically and emotionally in getting to that finish line! You sound prepared and confident - have an excellent race! I'd love to hear/read about it. I write encouragement for triathletes on my blog IronMakeover and am working on a nonfiction book for first-time triathletes. http://ironmakeover.blogspot.com/ Go get 'em & bring a camera along!
    Best to you,
    Sara Cox Landolt

    July 11, 2010 at 23:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. MP

    Looks like you will be competing alongside Dr. Sanjay Gupta!

    July 15, 2010 at 13:26 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.