Chasing a dream: Single mom to compete in 3rd extreme triathlon in world’s tallest mountains
With dreams of inspiring single mothers across the world, local triathlete Veronika Merchant is just one month away from competing in her third extreme triathlon.
Merchant, 33, is a single mother living in Steamboat Springs and is proof that any mother out there can achieve the impossible. She will soon travel to Nepal where she is competing in the Himalayan XTRI World Tour on May 6.
Merchant balances taking care of her 4-year-old son, running her own massage therapy business and training, among other things. Still, she gets in roughly 20 hours of training per week.
“I work four days a week and I train four days a week,” Merchant said. “I get up early, train three or four hours and go to work. After work, I usually go swimming for the full four days.”
Merchant does not usually train during days she has her son, but will sometimes take him out to run around or do push ups together.
She uses training and competing as a way to motivate herself but says the past two months have been especially tough on her mental health.
Merchant said she is still recovering from an abusive relationship and with the pressures of financing her trip to Nepal, it can be daunting at times to get through it all. She finds healing through the trails of nature.
“This is what I’m going through but I’m still able to compete because I’m pushing even more and saying to myself, you can do this,” Merchant said. “I want to be an example for others and see a single mom in a similar situation do the job so she’s happy. We need to fight for our life.”
In the summer of 2022, Merchant conquered XTRI World Tour events in both Utah and Montenegro where she finished second and third, respectively, but says the Himalayan competition is a whole different monster.
The elevation will be twice that of Utah and she will need to hire a Nepalese guide to help keep her hydrated and keep her on course in a country and region that is so foreign to her.
Merchant will cover 138 miles in the competition between the swimming, biking and running events and will reach a high elevation of 13,123 feet.
She is in search of support for her adventure through her GoFundMe page where she hopes to inspire so many more women like her.
“Once you’re put into the position to do it on your own, you have to do it,” Merchant said. “That’s even more powerful and I think I’m going to come back here knowing I made it and I will be so proud of myself.”
To reach Tom Skulski, call 970-871-4240, email tskulski@SteamboatPilot.com.
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