Bob Cunningham

Bob Cunningham at Bonita Cove

Never date a triathlete.  I dated one in 2008 and she promptly got me hooked on triathlon and TCSD.  The romantic relationship changed to friendship, but I still love triathlon and TCSD.

I was 52 at the time and had never learned to swim.  She got me into a triathlon wetsuit and suddenly I became a fish.  Before long I was swimming two miles in the open ocean.

I also had to learn to run all over again.  Twice.  My body simply wasn’t able to run like it did in my 20s and 30s, and I kept breaking it.  I stopped trying to run, and instead studied running from first principles, reading every book and nagging every sport and medical expert I could find.  It took several years, but I finally ran my first half-marathon in December 2016, which in turn allowed me to complete my first Half-Ironman race in April of 2017.

It has been interesting being a beginner at this stage of life.  It ignited a passion in me to help other beginners, starting with paying forward the awesome support I received while learning to swim.  In 2010 I started assisting the TCSD Beginners Open Water Swim (BOWS) Clinic, and have since helped introduce hundreds to open water swimming.

I will be pursuing my USAT Level 1 Coaching certification in February of 2018, with the intent to focus strictly on beginners, especially adult beginners, including those who are “beginning again” for whatever reason (time away from sport, injury, etc.).  For me, the goal for a beginner isn’t to go fast or go far: It is to enjoy learning and doing triathlon while staying injury-free.

Begin gently, and never stop!