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Sarah Reinertsen

Fear less, live more

About Sarah Reinertsen

Sarah Reinertsen gained international prominence after making sporting history in one of the world’s toughest endurance events – the Hawaii Ironman. In 2005, Sarah became the first female to complete this grueling triathlon using a prosthetic limb. An appropriate achievement for a woman whose motto is ‘Fear less, live more’.

Renowned both for her sprinting and distance running, Sarah is a competitive athlete who has been running since the age of 13. She spends much of her time giving back to the sport and serves as a spokesperson for the Challenged Athletes Foundation, a non-profit that supports athletes with disabilities. Off the track, her working roles include journalist, author and motivational speaker.

For everyday life, Sarah’s choice of prosthetic foot alternates between the Vari-Flex®, for great shock absorption and maximum energy return, and Elation™ with its heel-height adjustability that lets her switch from flats to heels at the touch of a button. For her running, Sarah uses Össur's lightweight sports foot, the Flex-Run™ With Nike Sole. She combines her choice of foot with Össur's Total Knee® (2100 model for sport, 2000 for everyday activities).


Facts

Nationality USA
Amputation Above the Knee
Competitive Class T42
Main Events

Highlights

2011
Great Wall of China 10km race
  • First female above-knee amputee to complete the testing course
2009
World Triathlon Champion in her age group

Biography

Born in 1975 with a congenital disorder, Sarah Reinertsen (USA) lost her left leg above the knee at the age of seven. It took her several years to learn how to run, but once she did, boy was she unstoppable.

For 10 years Sarah raced on the US Disabled Track Team, a journey which included a stop-off at the 1992 Paralympic Games. She later made the switch to road racing, running in dozens of 10k’s, half-marathons and seven full marathons before becoming a triathlete.

Making sporting history

No stranger to hard work and determination, Sarah was the first female amputee to gain the coveted ‘Ironman’ title in 2005 – probably the world’s toughest triathlon, comprising a 2.4-mile ocean swim (3.8km), a 112-mile bike ride (180km) and a 26.2-mile run (42.2km). And a year later, she was racing around the world on “The Amazing Race,” the Emmy-award-winning reality TV series on CBS, returning just in time to pick up the 2006 ESPY* award for Best Female Athlete with a Disability.
*Entertainment Sports Premier Network, the biggest sports cable network in the US.

In a Single Bound

Since then, Sarah’s story has been covered in many national newspapers and she has graced the covers of Runner’s World, Triathlete, Competitor and ESPN magazine.  In 2009, GPP Life published her book, entitled “In a Single Bound.” An honest, touching and funny memoir, it tells the story of how a feisty one-legged girl trying to fit in with her two-legged friends, grows up to become a world-class athlete and TV personality.

Today , Sarah continues to race in triathlons and road races around the world and is a current member USAT National Paratriathlon team.  Working with the Challenged Athletes Foundation on their mentorship and coaching program, she is involved with sports workshops around the country, teaching amputees how to run, bike and swim.

Sarah also works as a motivational speaker, inspiring audiences that include big businesses such as MetLife, Credit-Suisse and Barclays Bank. By sharing her own experiences she helps motivate others to realize their potential, daring them to dream big.

The Great Wall and beyond

In 2011, Sarah was one of 2,000 runners competing in the world-famous 10km race along the Great Wall of China. The first female above-knee amputee to complete the testing course, plagued with incredibly steep sections and unstable steps, Sarah navigated this uneven terrain in a time of 1:49:46 – a real achievement.  In September 2011, Sarah returned to Beijing for the grand final of the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championships, an innovative circuit that allows the world’s top athletes to compete head-to-head on an ongoing basis via six world-class events.