It all started with a traffic accident that resulted in a broken back, leaving Marianne a paraplegic with walking function. At the age of 23, you are imagining a life with endless opportunity. You’re thinking about where to live, what career to pursue, but now all Marianne was left with was a life with limited choices. “I was comforting myself with a lot of food and keeping myself in that role by not doing anything.” Days were filled with sitting on the couch and lying in bed, eating. Before Marianne knew it, she had reached 302 lbs, was diagnosed with diabetes, developed high blood pressure and in a world of confusion. Using excuse after excuse to keep herself in the role of a victim, Marianne admitted, “I was trying to kill myself by eating myself to death.”
On a random night out with her dogs, Marianne challenged herself to run to the lamp-post that was just ahead, and she did. Running with the assistance of a cane, Marianne’s runs became longer, more frequent and have since become a part of her everyday life. She had finally found something that got her off the couch and brought joy to her life, and that is where her career as a paratriathlete began.
The next few months were a fast-paced adventure. Her first marathon happened in May 2012 in Copenhagen, where she finished in a time of 5:46:41. A few short months after solely focusing on running, Marianne began training for triathlons and quickly discovered she had an #Extraordinary talent in the sport. Early 2013, just months after adding swimming and biking to her routine, she was accepted onto the Danish national team and shortly after that was granted a Pro License in 2014 as the first Danish paratriathlete.
What’s next for Marianne? This year’s goal is to reclaim her World Championship title after winning both the ITU long distance and cross triathlon world championships in 2015. Marianne’s other focus for the year is to grow the paratriathlete community. She thrives off of stories of those in her community overcoming their own obstacles in a quest to be #Extraordinary. Marianne wants to continue to invite and challenge others to experience the energy and motivation that comes with personal growth and competition. Marianne’s personal motto, “The essence of what I do is simply to be more than I was yesterday” couldn’t describe her life any better.
Shoe pictured: Boco Sol
Photo credit: Jakob Kjeldsen
Header photo credit: Stine Sophie Winckel
Marianne’s preferred shoe is the Newton Running Distance V