Karen Wood

Triathlete and Ironman

Karen’s coaching career began as a group fitness instructor.

That’s when she learned that she loves helping people reach their individual fitness goals and dreams.  Karen enjoys helping others discover and recognize their own personal power and internal strength. She began working with youth athletes when a traveling softball team asked her to help develop the youths’ strength, agility and speed programs. That was when Karen truly realized she thoroughly enjoys coaching and helping develop people to become the best athlete they were created to be.

When Karen’s daughter started running in elementary school, Karen became familiar with the youth running program FIT 180 Athletics. She discovered even more that she loved working with kids and helping them recognize their athletic potential. Karen began coaching cross-country for the Cuthbertson Middle School, which is also where her daughter competed. When Karen isn’t coaching at Cuthbertson during the season, she coaches with FIT 180 Athletics.

Karen states that she is “….blessed to have the privilege of coaching both state and nationally ranked runners. It is a joy to watch kids pour themselves into something and achieve!

It was during this time that Karen decided she really wanted to become a triathlon coach. Consequently, she became certified for the triathlete sport discipline. She provides a structured training approach for adult runners, cyclists, swimmers, and triathletes alike with the same passion she employs to her youth training. Karen provides her professional training through HIT Endurance Coaching.

Karen strives to set a good example to all of her athletes, both youths and adults.  

She hopes to instill in all a love of sport and competition, a true understanding of what sportsmanship is, how to be a good teammate, and above all else, a humble attitude in both wins and losses. She believes firmly that sports provide a strong foundation that will allow kids to navigate life when hard times and hard choices come.

As for Karen herself, she has always been active athletically. As a child, she enjoyed playing softball more than running. At Purdue University where she graduated, she played recreational softball and rowed on the Novice Crew team her freshman year. She also sang in the University choir throughout her college years.

Karen is very humble when you ask her about her accomplishments. She states “… the way I see it, I’ve been blessed beyond measure with my ability to train, race, and perform. I train and race completely humbled knowing that the credit isn’t mine. I am constantly aware of the fact that, I’m just the lucky one who gets to inhabit this body and this life. I’ve been given the gifts of a phenomenal coach, a strong mind and body, a supportive husband and family, and a lifestyle that allows me to train and race like I do. For me every race, and even each training session, is an opportunity to say thank you for all this and to showcase GOD’s greatness. I try to keep that mindset through every race and every season.”

Some of her most notable highlights are:


Qualified for the Boston Marathon 6 times, 3 of which occurred during Ironman races
Competed in the Boston Marathon with a qualifying time

Triathlons (Ironman brand):

Completed 7 full Ironman distance races
4th female overall at Ironman Louisville October 2016 (2nd AG finish here as well)
11th place AG finish at Ironman World Championships (Kona) 2017
1st place AG finish at Ironman Chattanooga 70.3 May 2019
Ironman 70.3 World Championships (Chattanooga) September 2017
1st place AG finish at Ironman 70.3 Raleigh June 2017
2nd place AG finish Ironman Los Cabo 70.3 November 2018

Triathlons (not Ironman):

5th place AG finish USAT Nationals Cleveland August 2018
2nd place Overall female Rev 3 Williamsburg 70.3 2016
Overall 2nd place female Lake Logan Half Ironman August 2016
2nd place Overall female Lake James 50 May 2016
Many overall & AG wins at local triathlons

In 2019, Karen will be competing as a member of Team USA at the ITU World Championships. She will be competing in the sprint and Olympic distance races in Lausanne, Switzerland (Aug 31, Sept 1st). From there she plans to head right over to Nice, France for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships (Sept 7th).

Karen holds the following Certifications:

  • Level 1 USA Triathlon Coach
  • Level 1 RRCA Coach
  • Training Peaks Level 1 Coach
  • FMS Level 1 Certification

When Karen isn’t training or coaching, she enjoys spending time with her husband and her twin daughters.