Mariana Filippov had a life long struggle with weight and numerous health issues, so in 2007, when friend, April Bowling, challenged her and several other friends to train and compete in a local sprint triathlon, Mariana knew that she had to do it.
"I was actually pretty excited and couldn't wait to go to the gym and try to run for the first time". That's right. Mariana had never run in her life or biked on a road bike either!
It was the opportunity to change her life and the life of her family. Mariana has two daughters, ages 4 and 7, works a full time job and cares for her house, husband and mother, leaving her exhausted by mid-morning. Doing the right thing is not always easy, but she finds the time and energy to make it happen. Mariana feels "the struggle to fit everything in that needs to be done in 24 hours is challenging but well worth it in the end."
Exercising is easier when you do it with other people. The support and relationships you build will last forever. "Team TriROK has helped me believe in myself. I became a better person, a better mother and wife too. I know that I can do it, and so can anyone who puts their mind to it!" Mariana has competed in various triathlons, both individually and on relay teams. She has run several 5Ks and twice completed the Tufts 10K for Women -very rewarding accomplishments.
This work has paid off in many ways. One of the most valuable ways is the effect is had had on her children. Her two daughters enjoy swimming, gymnastics, dance and love to ride their bikes. "I feel so proud when my daughter, Larisa, says she wants to run just like mommy or when Natalie asks me to ride my bike with her. This is what I work so hard for; so my children and family will learn to live a healthy life, by watching me do it."
Mariana is now a Board Member of the TriROK Foundation. She is trying to give back for the help and inspiration that she received from Team TriROK. "It is about helping other families achieve the same feeling that I have. The feeling of 'can do'." That enthusiasm is what makes Mariana a valued asset and why she is proud to be part of the organization. Next, she will share this strength with our FamiliesTri' participants as a mentor. "I want them to have the support and friendship they need to believe in themselves. "