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Rachel Seepie gives a thumbs up during the Lifetime Tri in Tempe. Photo Courtesy ATHLINKS.

Iron Man Has Competition, Right Here in Salt River

Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community member Rachel Seepie wears many hats: She is a mother, a Zumba/spin/yoga instructor, a group lifestyle balance coach, a Spartan, a runner, a triathlete and a three-time Ironman completer.

Despite some minor injuries, a previous gestational diabetes diagnosis, type 2 diabetes and working a full-time job, Seepie has proved that age is nothing but a number.

The SRPMIC physical fitness specialist has provided her knowledge and expertise to those who wish to be as athletically accomplished as she is. Seepie proves to be a real-life “Wonder Woman,” or an “Iron Woman,” and she’s not stopping in 2018.

“My sister Michelle and I started exercising at the [Salt River] Fitness Center with the Diabetes Program,” she said. “There’s where we started. We volunteered to teach different classes, and through a grant we were hired. My sister and Theodus “Odie” Toney are the first people I know who completed a half-marathon. My sister was my motivation. That’s where it started.”

Seepie started her athletic career in 2009. Watching her sister complete a half-marathon ignited a fire within her, which she now refers to as a healthy addiction. Seepie claims to have hated running, but now you’ll see her constantly participating in various runs and triathlons throughout the state.

Both Seepie and her sister were diagnosed with diabetes and wanted to show others that despite this setback, it was really up to them to change their lives. Seepie’s numbers have been great, according to her doctor, and she no longer has to take diabetes medication.

“Community members and younger kids might see their parents or grandparents who have type 2 diabetes and think, ‘This is what my life is going to be,’” Seepie said. “They automatically assume that’s their life. It’s not like that at all. A lot of people don’t know I had gestational diabetes and have type 2 diabetes unless they ask me.”

Throughout her career, Seepie has completed 12 marathons (26.2 miles), 20-plus half-marathons (13.1 miles), 20-plus triathlons (Olympic distance: 0.93-mile swim, 24.8-mile bike, 6.2-mile run), two Spartan races (13-mile obstacle racing), three Ironman races (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run; attempted four races) and many other smaller races.

Rachel Seepie's Ironman Arizona Medal from November 19, 2017.
Seepie’s accomplishments include placing third in her age group in three races: the Athena Athlete’s Life Time Tri, the Mountain Man Triathlon in Super Sprint and the 10K Buckeye Marathon. After placing third in the Athena Athlete’s Life Time Tri, Seepie was invited to participate in the inaugural Life Time Tri Championship triathlon in New York on July 1, 2018. She is currently training for that event.

“I know how [diabetes] goes; it was hereditary in my family. I control mine with what I eat and physical activities. It doesn’t have to be like that. It’s up to you to change the outcome of your life. You can maintain it,” said Seepie.