From cheerleader to Ironman: Russ scores goals

JUST YOURSELF – Holly Russ, 53, of Westlake Village is competing in the 2022 World Triathlon Championships in Abu Dhabi in November.

With the new year, many will find it difficult to keep a resolution to get fit and stay active. Holly Russ, 53, is an inspiration that anyone can achieve their goals at any age.

In 2005, Russ was a stay-at-home mom raising three boys in Westlake Village.

Last November, she competed in the 2022 World Triathlon series in Abu Dhabi against women from all over the world.

“It started small,” she says of her meteoric rise from great mother to great athlete. “I was 35. I started with a half marathon. Then a full marathon. But age is just a number. It’s never too late.”

Russ was not athletic growing up. Both of her sisters played varsity sports; she was a cheerleader.

Her mindset changed after she joined a running group started by her sister Jamie Allison called Moms in Motion. After that group ended, Russ started Westlake himself and ran it for 10 years.

Over time, her determination and enthusiasm grew.

“I decided to focus on goals I set for myself,” he said.

His goal: to compete in the World Triathlon Championship Series in Abu Dhabi.

Triathlon is widely regarded as one of the most demanding athletic disciplines as it encompasses three challenging sports: running, swimming and cycling. For competition, an athlete must train in not one, but all three.

Russ qualified in the Half Ironman, which involves a 1.2 mile swim; 56 mile ride and 13.1 mile run. A full Ironman is 140.6 miles, with a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride and a full marathon.

In addition to endurance, a participant must provide their own equipment, including a racing ring, which can run thousands of dollars. Competitions are held all over the world; competitors pay their own way and manage their own equipment. Most also have a coach.

The triathlon competition is divided into several groups, including elite athletes, para-athletes and age groups. Russ was in the 50-54 age group.

It was a long road to earn a spot on Team USA.

GIVE IT ALL – Holly Russ breathes after completing the Half Ironman in Abu Dhabi. The athletic event includes a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride and a 13.1 mile run. Courtesy photo

First, Russ had to qualify at the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships. To receive an invitation, competitors must come first or second in their age group or in the top 15% of the age group.

The mother of three didn’t have to look far for inspiration. Her coach, Susan Corti, qualified for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, after having a mastectomy for breast cancer.

“She still did. Courage, perseverance and determination,” Russ said.

In 2020, Russ was invited to take part in a world championship triathlon in New Zealand in 2020 – then the bottom fell out.

“My dreams were shattered when COVID canceled the event,” he said.

She competed at nationals again in 2021, finishing one spot out of qualifying – but someone ahead of her put her out.

The Russ family, from left: Tyler, Dave (dad), Holly, Eli and Brady. Courtesy photo

In November last year, she traveled with her husband, Dave, to the Arabian Peninsula for the World Championships.

“It was surreal,” he said of competing in Abu Dhabi. “I was very proud to represent the United States of America. I teared up as we started walking with the Parade of Nations. All the people from all over the world — to meet them and race with them — we were all in this together like I’ve never experienced before.”

When he arrived, he found everything taken care of, from massage therapists to chiropractors. The American team even received a mock Thanksgiving dinner. She had met some of her cohorts in other competitions but became close with three women from California.

They trained in 90-degree heat and 70% humidity on Yas Island, a tourism and sports center that hosts Formula One Racing championships and other sports and entertainment events.

“We were watching the cars driving around the track and the yachts on the waterways. We went on a city tour of Abu Dhabi. Stunning architecture. The water is beautiful on the Persian Gulf. “

She and Dave visited the only 7 star hotel in the world to see the rooms where US President Bill Clinton and performer Elton John stayed. They went dune buggy blasting in the desert, sandsurfed on a sled and stopped at an oasis for a camel ride before the race.

When race day came, it was all business. Russ placed fourth among American women and 18th overall.

“I had a good swim, and a personal best on the bike. It was a hard run because it was so hot. Still, I’m happy with how I placed,” he said.

80 countries were represented, and the United States had the most athletes second only to Great Britain with 220 people.

“When I was a little girl, I watched (Olympic gymnast) Nadia Comaneci. I did endless cartwheels. The seed of hard work and perseverance never left,” Russ said. “I thought about her a lot, but I thought thinking about her was as close as I’ll ever get.”

Then, on November 26, she wore a Team USA kit.

“There was me, thinking about Nadia. Wow! ‘This is me.’ That dream never died.”

Russ plans to go to London in April for his 11th marathon; she has done Boston, New York and Chicago. She said she had put her bike away for a while and was running.

Whatever awaits Russ, she has already covered a lot of ground.

“My family laughed at me, initially. I am surprised for them. I surprised myself. I call it the ‘what if’ voice. ‘What if I do this and qualify?’ It led to opportunities I never imagined. You put one foot in front of the other and sometimes one foot back. It’s a metaphor for life.”

What movies were filmed in Thousand Oaks?

Match Filming Location "Hidden Valley, Thousand Oaks, California, USA" (Ordered by Ascending Popularity) Read also : How to Support Franklin Cheer | Franklin Township, NJ TAPinto News.

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Where was Gunsmoke filmed in Thousand Oaks? The Janss Conejo Ranch in Thousand Oaks, Calif. “Gunsmoke” began filming regularly in the Conejo Valley early in season three, and never left. The show continued to do much of its location filming in the region for the next 18 years, through its final season in 1974-75.

Was Gunsmoke filmed in Thousand Oaks? “Gunsmoke,” the longest-running Western on television, was also filmed locally — near California Lutheran University and the Wildwood area of ​​Thousand Oaks, as well as in Simi Valley’s Corriganville and Agoura’s Paramount Ranch.

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Why should you move to Thousand Oaks? It has almost everything you need, so there’s no need to venture out of the bubble! Thousand Oaks is also great for shopping. It is home to The Oaks Mall, a beautiful indoor/outdoor mall as well as Janss Marketplace, an outdoor mall featuring shopping, restaurants, and fun activities for kids.

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