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Stamford's Jacqueline Fusco Ready For Triathlon Challenge

Stamford's Jacqueline Fusco will race in Sunday's KIC It Triathlon in Stamford, her first attempt at the Olympic distance event.
Stamford's Jacqueline Fusco will race in Sunday's KIC It Triathlon in Stamford, her first attempt at the Olympic distance event. Photo Credit: Contributed

STAMFORD, Conn. – Stamford’s Jacqueline Fusco watched the KIC It Triathlon two years ago as she helped her daughter’s cheerleading team from Stamford High School support the race. On Sunday, the commitment she made to participate will finally come to fruition.

“I was watching the whole thing and it was very impressive on so many different levels,’’ Fusco said. “A lot of people were doing it. You looked at the elite athletes, and they were impressive. But I also saw a lot of first-timers. I thought it looked like fun.”

Fusco began training a few months later and last year completed sprint distance triathlons in Greenwich and Norwalk. She finished a similar distance earlier this month in Bridgeport. Sunday, she’ll attempt to complete her first Olympic distance triathlon, consisting of a 0.9-mile swim, 24.8-mile bike ride and 6.2-mile run. The race supports Kids In Crisis of Cos Cob.

“When I was watching, I committed to finishing a triathlon and I wanted to do the Stamford race,’’ Fusco said. “A lot of people jump into triathlons by doing that one first. I said I don’t think that’s such a good idea. It was a completely new thing for me. I like to know what I’m doing before I get into it. I talked to a lot of people and they said to start with the sprint distance. I trained for 10 months before I even did that.”

She jumped into triathlon training with little experience in endurance training. “The only thing I was doing was playing a little tennis,’’ she said. “I went to law school, and I finished that three years ago. Tennis was my only activity. I had done some biking and running on and off. After doing this kind of training, tennis is not exercise.”

The mother of three teens said the hardest part has been juggling family responsibilities and work with her training. The time required for training also surprised her.

“I don’t think I understood until I did it,’’ Fusco said. “You watch the elite athletes and you say, 'That looks easy.' It’s not that easy. I think my kids are proud. A lot of times they’ll say to me, ‘Mom, why don’t you go out?’ I do go out. I go to the gym. My husband and I have our social life. My social life is working out and tennis. I don’t mind. It’s a good thing.”

Fusco set small goals – “I want to finish without stopping,’’ she said – and is primarily concerned about swimming in Long Island Sound.

“I’m perfectly happy swimming in a pool,’’ she said. “I’m not a big fan of swimming in the Sound. I’m also hoping that I don’t get a flat tire, and that I put in a decent time.”

She did not realize it two years ago, but watching the race with her daughter changed her life.

“I think this is just the beginning,’’ she said. “It’s kind of my lifestyle now. It’s a way of life. I’m going to do the best that I can do, and hopefully I’ll keep getting a little better. It’s not as important to me as doing the workouts and the cross training. It’s a good, healthy life, and it’s for a good cause.”

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