Chrissie Wellington MBE is a four-time Ironman Triathlon World Champion, and was undefeated in all thirteen of her races over the ironman distance. She is the only triathlete to have won the Ironman World Championship less than a year after turning professional, and is the first British athlete to hold the title.
An alumna of the University of Birmingham, Chrissie graduated in 1998 with a First Class Degree in Geography. During her time at Birmingham she was also captain of the University Swimming Team, and did volunteer work in the local community.
Before becoming a professional triathlete Chrissie worked for the British government as an adviser on international development and environmental policy and, also lived and worked in Nepal in 2004-5 managing development projects.
In 2003 she developed a passion for running, swimming, and cycling and, despite living in London, joined the Birmingham Running and Triathlon Club – following on from the links she retained as a University of Birmingham student. Chrissie trained for up to 28 hours a week on top of her full time job; a level of commitment that paid off when in 2006 she won the triathlon World Championships at the amateur level, and in early 2007 – aged 30 - decided to take the plunge, give up her government job and become a professional athlete. Only six months later Chrissie had her first Ironman win at Ironman Korea.
Six weeks after, Chrissie went on to win the World Ironman Championships in Hawaii. It was described as the 'biggest upset in Ironman history' and 'a remarkable feat, deemed to be near impossible task for any athlete racing as a rookie at their first Ironman World Championships'. She repeated the feat in 2008 when she was crowned World Ironman Champion for the second year, and also won Ironman Australia and Ironman Germany.
Chrissie went on to win a further two World Ironman Championships in 2009 and 2011. She set a new World Record of 8 hours 19:13 at Challenge Roth in Germany in 2010, which slashed over 14 minutes from the previous record and where she was only beaten by six men. She went on to improve the world record by another minute a year later.
Chrissie retired from professional triathlon in 2012, and works tirelessly to utilise the platform she has to drive positive change - combining her two passions, sport and development. She is actively involved in a range of activities to try and increase participation in sport, including working for parkrun and leading the development of junior parkrun – a series of free, weekly run events around the UK for 4-14yr olds. She lobbied tirelessly, and successfully, with a group of women to call for a women’s race at the Tour de France and actively contributes to a range of government and NGO work to encourage women and girls to take up sport as well as being an accomplished motivational and public speaker.
In 2009 Chrissie was voted 'Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year' and in 2010 she was awarded an MBE as well as being honoured with a Doctorate from the University of Birmingham. She published her autobiography, A Life Without Limits, in February 2012, which went straight to Number 1 on the Sunday Times Best Seller list. She is a passionate and active University of Birmingham alumna and member of the Birmingham Running and Triathlon Club to this day!