Physical Therapist to Compete in IRONMAN World Championship
Jul 6, 2016 Share

Physical therapist Keri Pawielski, PT, understands the health benefits of staying active and enjoys challenging herself. An active runner since high school, Keri has competed in the Maytag IRONMAN 70.3 Steelhead triathlon in Benton Harbor every year since 2003.

While Keri has always enjoyed competing in the local half IRONMAN, in November 2015, she decided to try running a full IRONMAN race for the first time.

“Last year, my brother signed up for a full IRONMAN, and I thought it would be fun to try it out with him,” said Keri. “I was actually planning to take a break from training after racing with my brother, but then I qualified for the world championship in Kona, Hawaii.”

The IRONMAN championship encompasses a 2.4 mile swim, 112 miles of biking, and ends with a 26.2 mile run. Despite working part-time and raising her two daughters, Keri finds ways to make time in her schedule for the intense training required to complete a full IRONMAN challenge.

“I spend between eight and twelve hours each week training,” said Keri. “I set my alarm early in the morning and go to the track before my daughters get up. There are usually other people training as well, and it’s fun to meet new people and train with groups from all walks of life.”

Working in rehabilitation, Keri is inspired by her patients who are continually pushing the boundaries of their physical abilities.

“As a pediatric physical therapist, I ask kids to push their limits every day by encouraging them to take a few more steps,” said Keri. “It’s important that we show patients that we’re challenging ourselves and taking care of our bodies if we’re asking them to do the same.”

Keri Pawielski While the full IRONMAN challenge may not be for everyone, taking on new challenges can make an important difference in your health.

“It’s good to challenge yourself to overcome your limits, no matter what they may be,” said Keri. “It’s important that we get out and move; it doesn’t matter if you’re training for a competition or not. We only get one body, and we have to take care of it.”

This year, the IRONMAN World Championship will take place on October 8 in Kona, Hawaii. You can follow Keri’s progress live as she takes on the triathlon by visiting the “Athlete Tracker” page at on the day of the race.

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