When Bev Watson crossed the Arizona Spartan Super finish line in 2012 as the 14th female overall, she knew she belonged in the elite heat. A few short months later, she was regularly standing on the podium and won her first Spartan Race in Montana in 2013. Her meteoric rise to the top is not unusual in obstacle racing, as unknown athletes continue to sample the sport and find themselves among the elite. However, there is one remarkable thing that sets Bev apart from the dozens of others who have had similar entries into obstacle racing. Bev is in her “late 50s” as she likes to say and outraces most elite women (and men) who are decades younger! In many ways Bev has avoided all the hype that comes from winning Spartan Races by entering only a few races per year. But do not let the lack of spotlight fool you into thinking she is not to be taken seriously. There is much more to her story.
As a teenager, Bev was a ski racer until breaking her leg at age 19. After recovering from that injury, finishing school, and starting her career, she made the Canadian National Skydiving Team and won the world championship in 1987. Over the next six years, she amassed a combined total of 11 world cups and medals. She then entered the triathlon world in 1995 and competed for several years, breaking course records and continuing to get faster even as she aged. Even more impressive, Bev won the 2013 Ironman World Championship in Kona while breaking the record for her age group!
Despite the 7 different surgeries she has undergone for injuries sustained over the years, competition still runs deep in her blood and she continues to take on extreme challenges. Having just competed in the most recent Fuego y Agua in Nicaragua (alongside my friend, and her significant other, Shane McKay), her sights are already turned to the many different events she wants to enter this year. Bev credits her resilience to a good physical therapist, cross-training, yoga, and never letting injuries stop her in her tracks. Her words of wisdom for the rest of us mortals: “You’re stronger than you think you are”.