Cancer Didn’t Bring Her to Her Knees, it Brought Her to Her Feet
by: Christy Fritts
Moira Horan, is a wife, a mother, and a long-time runner and triathlete from New Jersey. She has completed many races and triathlons of all distances including 11 Ironman triathlons and qualified for the IM World Championship twice. She has been a competitive age group triathlete who started running in the mid-90s and then found triathlon shortly thereafter. In 2012, Moira founded an all women’s triathlon club and also co-founded the Jersey Girl Triathlon in 2011.
Moira is an active member of the Ironman Women for Tri-Board of Advisors since its inception in 2015 and is dedicated to helping increase women’s participation in triathlon and encourage all women to lead a healthier and more active lifestyle. She is also a member of USA Triathlons Women’s Committee.
One year ago, Moira was training for and planning to run her sixth Boston Marathon. However, life had a different route in mind. Instead of crossing that celebrated finish line in April, she would be on the operating table undergoing a lumpectomy. One month earlier, during a routine mammogram, Moira was diagnosed with triple negative invasive ductal breast cancer. Her plans for a full season of running races and triathlons for the year, including IM Lake Placid, were replaced with cancer-fighting treatments. In a matter of six months, Moira would endure eight rounds of chemotherapy followed by 20 rounds of radiation treatments.Through Memorial Sloan Kettering she is now part of a clinical trial of an adjuvant drug for women with triple-negative breast cancer and will be taking an androgen blocking drug for one to two years.
Moira remained active throughout her treatment and decided to share her experience on her blog at moirahoran.com in the hopes of encouraging more women to schedule their routine mammograms and to offer support to other women on the same or similar journey. The response to this has been overwhelmingly positive.
Moira will be returning to triathlon this year, starting with the Wildflower Olympic distance on May 6th. When her Coeur Sports teammates started planning to attend the race it lit a fire in her commitment to compete. The return of such an iconic event in the sport felt like it marked the right moment to return to triathlon.
“I remember reading stories about Wildflower over the years,” says Moira, “I’ve always drawn energy from spectators and other athletes during a race and this event has always looked like it has just what I need to get me to the finish line.”
Moira’s love of the sport and her own active lifestyle and passion for supporting and encouraging women is nothing short of inspiring. Over the years, her tri club has grown to a membership of several hundred women. She is a mentor and role model to so many and continues to inspire women to make meaningful lifestyle changes and cultivates a supportive, trusting environment that has enabled many to overcome their fears and achieve goals that many never thought possible. Despite everything she brings to the sport, Moira is grateful for what triathlon and her team have brought to her life too:
“I love being part of the Coeur Sports Team, this is my 4th year representing the brand. It’s an amazing group of athletes racing for an incredible company. I love everything they stand for and the support and encouragement I received during my journey through cancer last year was a huge help in getting me through each step of the way. I expect that this race will test both my mental and physical strength. I will be ‘camping’ in an RV this year, with my friend Amy, and maybe next year I will come back and try out a tent!”
This will be Moira’s first Wildflower Experience and while she’s never raced on this particularly challenging course, she will enter it with a warrior’s heart that has faced and conquered one of life’s most difficult battles. On the morning of May 6, we will be cheering her on as Moira makes her way toward a new finish line.
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