The Sport of Cancer: How One Survivor Linked Ironman Training and Colorectal Cancer


Teri Griege completed an Ironman triathlon in 2009, and less than a month later received a stage 4 colorectal cancer diagnosis. In this episode of Cancer Horizons, she shared her story.

In 2009, Teri Griege was in the best shape of her life. In fact, the 48-year-old just completed an Ironman — a grueling race consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run. So, she was completely shocked when, two weeks after her race, she was diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer.

Triathlete and cancer survivor Teri Griege showcasing her medals

Teri Griege was diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer two weeks after completing an Ironman triathlon.

Photo courtesy of Teri Griege

Griege said that competing in triathlons was really a four-discipline sport: running, biking, swimming and — importantly — mindset. After receiving her diagnosis, she took that attitude into her cancer treatment, only now instead of participating in a run, bike and swim, it would be radiation, chemotherapy and surgery.

“Initially when I went into (cancer treatment), the radiation was one sport, the chemotherapy was a second sport and the surgery was a third sport. So you get through one and you move on to the next,” Griege said in an interview with CURE®. “Even within one, you still have to break that down… when you start a marathon, you don’t want to think about mile 26. You’re going to think about getting through mile number one… so I just went with the same kind of game plan (for cancer treatment) as I would for a competition.”

In this episode of the Cancer Horizons podcast, Greige shares her story, including how she became an “accident advocate” for patients with colorectal cancer — including her sister, who was diagnosed with the disease only two weeks after she was.

“I saved my sister’s life right out of the gate,” Griege said. “So I feel like advocacy has been my calling.”

For more news on cancer updates, research and education, don’t forget to subscribe to CURE®’s newsletters here.

Related Videos
Dr. Kim in an interview with CURE
Dr. Barzi in an interview with CURE
nurse practitoner, Stephanie Yates
Nurse practitioner, Stephanie Yates, in an interview with CURE
Related Content