Profile of a Triathlete – Dave Nijhawan

As exciting as all of the updates about my training for the Augusta 70.3 are for everyone to read, I thought it might be nice to read about how other people are getting and staying active and healthy.

Dave on the bike at the 2010 Ironman Cozumel
Dave on the bike at the 2010 Ironman Cozumel

Today we have the profile of Dave Nijhawan, a friend of mine from my freshman year in college. Dave and I share a unique bond. He was unfortunate enough to be awake when I wanted to go for a post-study session jog at 2AM one Thursday night in October. Without getting into a lot of detail, we both learned that night why it is not a good idea to go jogging at 2AM…you probably aren’t really as safe as you might imagine you are anywhere when you are out at 2AM. Despite this Dave, and I, clearly still jog and stay active.

How did you get started in the world of triathlon?

I entered the triathlon world in 2006 after running several half marathons and 2 full marathons. I found that injury became common with just running, and I wanted to try something new. I started with the sprint distance and my inexperience showed right from the start. That said, I  met a lot of good people who helped me learn more about the sport and who made the sport exciting for me. In short, I did it to avoid injury and to prevent boredom. 8 years later, I still race.

What was your original motivation for taking it on? Is your motivation the same or has it evolved over the years?

My motivation as well as my motivation level changes all the time. One thing that remains constant, however, is the purpose. I like to race for kids and other things bigger than me. I took on a lot of sprints and some footraces for a group called Ambassadors for Children which helps underprivileged kids overseas. I also took on my first marathon for a friend who had breast cancer. I currently do my races for a group called Ironman for Kids which is based in Texas and that raises money and awareness for kids with special needs. I got connected with them at my first Ironman attempt in 2008 in New Zealand.

What have been some of your best experiences in triathlon? What have been some of your worst?

Dave at the finish of the 2009 Ironman New Zealand
Dave at the finish of the 2009 Ironman New Zealand

The first New Zealand trip remains a critical time in my life and development. Long and short, the worst thing that could happen, and the best thing that could happen, happened. I DNF’d. Yes, I got kicked off the course because I wasn’t fast enough. It was my 30th birthday present to myself – happy birthday to me: thousands of miles away from anyone I knew to console me and scores of people on facebook watching me fail. That failure presented me with a choice: either roll over and die, or get back up and figure a way to make it happen next time. I chose the latter, and the rest is history.

Any parting words?

I wrote this bio for Brian Wiley because he’s ignited a passion in the people around him to make a difference and to help people. To me, that’s a noble cause. I encourage you to find your passion, and get behind what Brian is doing. You may never know who you impact.

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