Sika Henry

Ali on the Run Show Episode 460: Sika Henry, Professional Triathlete

“I hit a severe low. I went through a bout of depression, actually. I felt lost, in some ways. I had this dream and this goal, and I was so focused, and then I achieved it…and then it was like I didn’t have anything.”

Earlier this year, Sika Henry made history, becoming the first African American woman to become a professional triathlete. She’s an Ironman, an ultramarathoner (she just completed the JFK 50 Mile last month), and a Hoka-sponsored athlete. But the road to trailblazing status hasn’t been without its challenges. In 2019, Sika was competing at an Ironman 70.3 event in Texas when she crashed her bike and had to be rushed to the hospital. On this episode, she recalls that day, and talks about the road to getting back on the bike, and back to herself. She talks about earning her triathlon pro card this year, and about dealing with a bout of depression afterward. Plus, all about the breakup that inspired her to get her start in triathlon (relatable!), what it was like completing the JFK 50 Mile, and why representation is so important to her. (For more from Sika, check out her recent profile in the New York Times.)

SPONSOR: AfterShokz — Visit ontherun.aftershokz.com for 15% off wireless headphones.

What you’ll get on this episode:

  • On working full-time and being a professional triathlete (2:15)
  • Why Sika wanted to run the JFK 50 (5:25)
  • Sika’s JFK 50 race plan (11:45)
  • Sika’s JFK 50 recap (16:00)
  • How the ultra community compares to the triathlon community, in Sika’s experience (22:00)
  • Sika’s highlight reel (27:00)
  • All about Sika’s family and childhood (30:15)
  • How Sika got into triathlon (39:35)
  • Sika’s bike accident in 2019 (41:30)
  • All about Sika’s first Ironman at World Championships in Kona (46:50)
  • On becoming the first African American woman to earn her triathlon pro card (50:00)
  • Sika talks about making her pro debut (56:15)
  • What Sika wants to do next (1:00:25)

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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