An Ironman up-and-comer looks to dethrone her mentor

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Out Front, Fall 1998

What Are Friends For?
An Ironman up-and-comer looks to dethrone her mentor
By Lolly Merrell

When Heather Fuhr (pictured) closed on the heels of Paula Newby-Fraser at last year’s Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Hawaii, she slowed her pace and did something entirely noncompetitive: “Heather leaned over and said,
‘Paula, come on! Run with me, just like at home!’,” says Newby-Fraser, the eight-time women’s champion, who was suffering from a virus and quit in the last 13 miles of the race. “I looked at Heather and said, ‘It’s all yours.’ And she did great.”

Fuhr, a 30-year-old Canadian, went on to take her first Ironman title. But she continues to give credit to Newby-Fraser, her training partner of three years in San Diego. She also heralds her friend for helping her to shave 30 minutes off her time on the cycling leg, Newby-Fraser’s strong suit — and Fuhr’s formerly weak one.

It’s a half-hour that just might halt the expelling of such warm, fuzzy Fuhrballs at this year’s race on October 3. With Fuhr gaining ground as the next Kona queen — and Newby-Fraser feeling her healthy self — can the rare on-course camaraderie resurface?

“We’ll just get out there and do our personal best,” says Fuhr. “But sure, I hope to win.”

Photograph by Michael Llewellyn

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