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A Defining Finish Line

“I can’t run. I can’t swim. I can’t bike.” Tonya Cowan, wife and mother to three children, told herself the same mantra she had repeated over and over again growing up. “I couldn’t do it before, because I was too heavy. I would just sit and watch.” Though she was never an “athlete” growing up, somehow Tonya found herself having a conversation about signing up for the Tie-Dye Tri sprint triathlon in Norman, OK.

Determined to Succeed


“Life happened, I guess,” Randy Thomas, 41, says of trying to understand how a former high school athlete and U.S. soldier could get to this point. “I couldn’t overcome my obstacles.” Randy suffered a broken back in 2000. His leg and foot were left partially paralyzed. “I felt this was a huge failure. How do you let yourself get to 420 pounds? I didn’t know how to prevent it.”