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Norma Bastidas' Record Triathlon Benefited Fight Against Human Trafficking

Doug Williams - ESPN
go to original
May 29, 2014



Norma Bastidas, Rompe récord mundial (Unidos H La Diferencia)

Before starting an attempt at a 3,762-mile triathlon on March 1, Norma Bastidas knew there would be obstacles.

Her body would take a pounding. The weather would no doubt be harsh. She'd get sick or have equipment failures.

As a veteran ultra-distance athlete, Bastidas often has overcome challenges, but this time she didn't account for one thing: salt water.

The first leg of what would be the world's longest triathlon would be a 122-mile swim in the Caribbean. Almost immediately after starting, she wondered if she'd have to stop.

... She finished her swim in Cancun, Mexico, then rode her bike 2,932 miles through Mexico and the southern U.S. before running 735 miles to finish in Washington, D.C., on May 5. Along the way she survived two dangerous traffic incidents on the bike and serious foot problems on the run. To Bastidas, the pain was for gain.

Today, Bastidas, 46, is a physical trainer, actress, athlete and single mother of two in Vancouver, British Columbia. As a young woman in Mexico, she was a victim of sexual abuse and kidnapping. Bastidas in recent years has been an outspoken advocate for raising awareness about human trafficking. Her goal was to shatter the long-held Guinness world record for a longest triathlon and attract attention and raise funds for the cause in the process.

She would follow a known trafficking route through Mexico and try to inspire younger victims with her message: She survived and thrived, and they can, too.

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