Racing Through Adversity
By Lauren Hall
Life is full of ups and downs, triumphs and failures, but through the hard times we are able to appreciate the good. Just ask Beth Price.
Price was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when she was 35-years-old, but instead of giving in to the disease she got going and started to push her body through triathlon.
“I had always wanted to do a triathlon but hadn’t got around to it, so when I was diagnosed with MS I knew I had to do it while I still could,” said Price.
Nearly 20 years later, Price is still racing triathlon, and with great success. She won back-to-back gold medals in the TRI-3 category at the ITU World Championships of 2007/2008 and has been a regular fixture on the podium at big races around the world.
This year, she’s looking to add an XTERRA World Championship title to her resume, and to qualify for Worlds she’ll race at the XTERRA Oak Mountain off-road triathlon on May 21 in Pelham, Alabama.
“My goal for Oak Mountain is to raise awareness about MS, inspire others with physical challenges to pursue their dreams in spite of living with a disability, finish strong, and qualify for the XTERRA World Championship in Maui,” said Price.
MS is a disease of the central nervous system which includes the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves and can manifest itself differently in those living with it. For Price, symptoms include vision loss, balance problems, fatigue, heat sensitivity, cognition and muscle tightness.
“Having lost 30-40% vision in my left eye, I prefer wearing goggles with a larger vision field when I swim,” she said. “Balance is an issue with the bike portion, navigating the course quickly when making split second decisions on the ascents, and heat sensitivity also comes into play, especially during the run.”
And to think that for some, just being 53-years-old is an obstacle.
“I'm aware there are very few physically challenged females competing in XTERRA and hope to encourage others to become involved,” said Price, who raced at XTERRA Blackwater and XTERRA Tide last year and got “hooked” on off-road triathlon.
“This will be my first ‘big’ XTERRA and I'm excited & nervous at the same time, but feel like this is an opportunity to race again on a national and international level.”
And a chance to show one-and-all that anything is possible.