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Athletes in Malibu Triathlon offer inspiration

September 15, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
For 25 years, triathletes have descended on Malibu's Zuma Beach for a half-mile swim, 18-mile bike ride and four-mile run. Some do the Malibu Triathlon for the love of fitness, others for fundraising. Three special athletes are participating for other inspiring reasons.

An accident in 1994 left Chris Jolly a below-the-knee amputee. But that didn't stop him from doing the Nautica Malibu Triathlon.

He said he thought to himself, "This would be good for me, I'll get in shape, and it'll give me an excuse to get outside in the sun."

He got a running prosthetic two years ago that improved his game.

"It was like going from a VW to a Ferrari. It made a world of difference for me," Jolly said.

He placed fourth last year in the challenged division in his first triathlon.

"When I finished last year, I started crying. It really was a very emotional moment for me because I was intimidated," Jolly said.

Longtime triathlete Noelle Cooke was diagnosed with an extremely aggressive breast cancer two years ago, but positive attitude and strength had her back in training this year.

"The second they said I had a lump, I just remember that moment, and I thought, 'Let's get rid of it, and let's get everything you've got available in medicine.'" Cooke said. "I've got a company to run and triathalons to do and a life to live, and it wasn't going to slow me down."

Katie Doyon was 3 years old when she was diagnosed with a rare form of arthritis called systemic juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. She had her first hip replacements at 15, both replaced twice since then, so she certainly experienced big fears.

Doyon, Cooke and Jolly all have the zest and drive to inspire all of us.

"Just to get out there and try and do your best," Jolly said.

"Have the confidence to do it, and to know that what your body can't do, your mind can see you through," Doyon said.

"Don't put off to do something tomorrow that you can do today because we're not promised all this time," Cooke said.

The event takes place Sunday, Sept. 18 at 7:15 a.m. About 4,000 are expected to participate, including plenty of stars sweating it out.

You'll also find a Fun Zone, a Kid's Run and a Tot Trot, with this year's proceeds going to pediatric cancer research for Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

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