Greensburg Salem grad finishes 2nd at Ironman Wisconsin event
TribLIVE Sports Videos
A normal trip from Pittsburgh to Cleveland would take a little more than two hours by car or maybe three-and-a-half by bus to cover the 140 miles.
Although it might take Beth Shutt about 10 hours to do the same, her means of getting there would be a bit more rudimentary.
A graduate of Greensburg Salem High School and Penn State University, Shutt has been a triathlete since 2006 and started competing professionally in 2012. She specializes in long distance Ironman races that stretch 140.6 miles. Competitors start their day with a 2.4-mile swim, followed by 112 miles on a bicycle, and finishing with a traditional 26.2-mile marathon.
On Sept. 8, Shutt placed second in Ironman Wisconsin with a time of 9:53:42, the best race of her career. She credits her success to some of the recent blessings in her life.
Until recently, Shutt struggled to balance training with her day job as a dietician at UPMC Presbyterian and her life at home with her husband, Oscar.
“That's the thing about triathlon; it's a very time-consuming sport,” Shutt said. “I have six- and seven-hour rides with a run off the bike. It's almost like a full-time job in a sense.”
A surprise sponsorship from CID Associates, a steel building manufacturing company in Sarver, was the first blessing that came her way.
“Taking away that financial burden allowed me to work a considerable amount less,” she said, “which allowed me to focus more on being a professional triathlete — meaning I could sleep more, I could recover more, I could train more if I want to. I could take care of those small details.”
Once Shutt could afford to take time away from work, she joined QT2 systems, a triathlon training group. The attitude that she brought into her training set her up for quick improvement.
“I saw a willingness to change,” said Tim Snow, Shutt's personal coach with QT2. “She did things a certain way in the past, and when I took her on I saw different things in her and she was willing to explore.”
As Shutt pointed out, training for the races is not the fun part.
“Five weeks out from the race, you have two really big weeks that are sort of your biggest overload weeks,” Shutt said, “and that's when you're just miserable.”
For each of the two weeks she swam about 9 miles, rode another 300, and ran 50 more. Yet through all of the unexpected challenges she had her husband's support.
“When I got into the sport, it's not like I ever thought I would compete professionally or I would be traveling all over the place racing,” she said, “but (Oscar)'s been there every step of the way.”
Wisconsin was just the beginning of the triathalon season, and the next step is Ironman Arizona in November. The ultimate goal as a professional triathlete is to qualify for the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.
Only the top 35 point earners qualify each year for the female professional championship — regardless of age — a realistic possibility for Shutt, according to Snow. Points can be earned only in Ironman-sanctioned races and now go toward the world championship race Oct. 11, 2014. Shutt's finish at Wisconsin earned her 1,600 points, putting her 12th in the world in the early going.
At age 34, this year could be Shutt's only shot at Kona as a pro. But don't expect her to stop racing for good.
“I've always been the kind of person that thrives on having a goal, something to compete for,” Shutt said. “In many ways I feel like this is sort of what I've been made to do.”
Gary Horvath is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Giant Eagle Inc. appears to have settled ‘fuelperks!’ lawsuit
- Pirates sign Corey Hart to 1-year deal
- Police gather in Ligonier for Perryopolis officer’s funeral
- Rossi: Brawl for ADs between Pitt and WVU
- Analysis: Misunderstood Chryst served Pitt well
- Steelers must be creative in providing snaps for linebackers
- 8 Western Pennsylvania hospitals penalized over infections
- Time is of essence for Pitt in finding football coach, athletic director
- Penguins’ Maatta tests positive for mumps; Bortuzzo, Greiss negative
- Review: No improper contact between Pa. Supreme Court justices, lawyers
- Veteran tight end Miller’s blocking skill crucial to success to Steelers running game