A First Time For Everything
Champion triathlete Tyler Stewart will attempt her first 100-mile race Saturday at Western States.
Photo by Martin Sundberg
You might say Tyler Stewart has beginner’s luck.
“After college I moved to California. Everyone here does something athletic, so I felt like I was missing out,” says Stewart, who now lives in Novato, California. “One of my friends found out I didn’t know how to swim and dared me to do a triathlon. I did a Half Ironman and I happened to win, even though I was doggy paddling through the swim.”
The win was no fluke. Stewart went on to win the Amateur World Title at the 2005 and 2006 Ironman World Championships, and racked up a slew of accolades as a professional triathlete, including recording the fastest-ever bike split in an Ironman: 4:42:40 at Ironman Texas in 2011. ... Not bad for someone who didn’t play a sport in college.
When she toes the line Saturday at the Western States Endurance Run in Squaw Valley, California (her first attempt at the 100-mile distance), she is hoping for the same good fortune that propelled her through that first triathlon.
While she was rising as a professional triathlete, Stewart discovered she had a knack for running. She won the 2009 and 2010 The North Face Endurance Challenge (TNF EC) 50K in San Francisco in 5:06:46 and 5:13:06 respectively. In 2011 she won her first marathon, the Santa Rosa Marathon in 2:45:14. The time qualified her for the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston last January, where she placed 65th in 2:44:04.
Again, not bad considering she ran the TNF EC 50 Mile in San Francisco (she placed fifth in 8:00:52) only a few weeks before.
“After Kona last year, I got tired of triathlons,” says Stewart. “There wasn’t much of a challenge left in it for me because I knew I could do it.”