The Post-Journal

City Woman Qualifies For World Championships

CVCS Teacher Will Represent Team USA In Australia

Cheryl Burns
Jamestown resident Cheryl Burns finished fourth in the 55-59 age group in the non-draft sprint distance to qualify for Team USA at the triathlon World Championships Submitted photo.

OMAHA, Neb. — A Jamestown resident known for her love of fitness took her athletic talents to the highest of heights Sunday at the USA Triathlon Age Group Championship.

Cheryl Burns, a teacher at Cassadaga Valley Central School, placed fourth in her age group (55-59) in the non-draft sprint distance to qualify for Team USA at the World Championships, which will be held on Australia’s Gold Coast in September 2018. The top five finishers earned that berth.

Burns, who finished 422nd overall and 108th among all women, posted a time of 1 hour, 17 minutes, 59 seconds on a course that featured a 750-meter swim, a 20.7-kilometer bike and 5.7K run.

“I have to say, every race in my whole life has been so humbling, especially this one,” said Burns, 56. “I had a 60-year-old beat me, and she’s a champion in her age group. It says to me there’s so much more I can do.”

Burns, who was cheered on by family members, including her husband, Pat, has quite an athletic resume, particularly in triathlons where she has earned World Championship berths three other times, but hasn’t been able to participate because of injury or expense.

She hopes a fourth time will be the charm.

“That’s one thing I can tell my kids when I teach them,” Burns said. “I have a background story, and … I’ve never faltered. All my choices were healthy … I always tell my students that I’m going to be riding my unicycle when I’m 92.”

No one would dare bet against her.

A few years ago Burns was out running with her dog and she shattered her ankle.

So, what did she do? She walked the half-mile home.

“It’s survival,” Burns said. “You get up and you go.”

Having accomplished another survival-of-the-fittest outing yesterday in the nation’s heartland, she can look forward to 13 months from now and a trip to the other side of the planet.

“It keeps me sane and keeps me on the right track,” Burns said. “I have to do it.”

The additional financial assistance of the community is critical to the success of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame.
We gratefully acknowledge these individuals and organizations for their generous support.