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Hunter Ralston

26 Years Old // Hebron, connecticut

Professional Horse Jumper

Instagram: @hunarals

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About Hunter

Going through these other bios and meeting my new teammates I realize I do not have the typical triathlete story. In fact, my whole life my sole focus was on horses. Fast forward…..I was recruited to the University of Tennessee at Martin (UTM), a Division I NCAA Equestrian program. While at UTM, we qualified for nationals every year, I was an All American on the Flat, I was UTM’s Female Athlete of the Year, I was the captain for two years, and for two years in a row I was the Most Outstanding Player for my team. So, just like every college sport, at some point it comes to an end. How was I possibly going to fill that void in my life? That competitive drive? That team aspect?

So, if we are to “blame” someone for our CrAzY triathlon family it would be my brother, Spencer Ralston. Some of you may know him as one of “The Dudes,” or a fellow sender, or that speedo kid, or the weird kid with the mullet. At one point I watched Spencer do so many triathlons that I convinced myself that I could do this too. There was one challenge though……how on earth was I going to swim that distance?!

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Spring semester 2014 I worked myself up to swim 500 yards. I literally would go to the pool, swim 500 yards in a row…and get out……I wish this was still my workout sometimes ;) Summer 2014 I did the local East Haddam Sprint Triathlon in Connecticut. Turns out not a lot of people show up to local races and I somehow ended up winning my age group.

Moving on to 2015  I raced a bunch of local sprint distance races. Then I convinced myself I would do a couple olympics, and that would probably be it because everyone who does long distance is out of their mind….I would never be that nut job doing long distance. So, in 2016 I did two olympic distance races on top of a handful of sprints. I frequently enjoyed AG podiums and had a blast racing with my family. Then came November 2016…..

I was taking a gap year between undergrad and grad school. And that “I am never going to do long distance” turned into “Well now is the perfect time to do ONE 70.3.” November 2016 I signed up for Maine 70.3. At this point I was doing ONE 70.3 before grad school and I was going to prepare the best I could for it…..I am sure at this point you can guess what happens.

Thanks to my brother, he somehow convinced Nor’Easter Triathlon to help me prepare for Maine. I am not sure why they agreed to this, but here I was on a triathlon team. March 2017 started my journey with my coach, Vanessa…..yes she is a fellow sender! Somehow on race day I managed to full send to a 5:24. I ran down that red carpet with tears in my eyes having no idea of my time. I hobbled my way over to my parents and I said “What was my time, 5:48?” To my complete disbelief my mom informed I went 5:24. And this was the beginning of the end…..

So, my one and done 70.3 has now turned into my new favorite distance. I am in fact one of those cRaZy people now that I was “never” going to be. I thought 2017 I had a breakout year until I reached 2018…..A couple Ironman 70.3 podiums, an overall win, and my first trip to Age Group Nationals.

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Looking ahead in 2019 I have signed up for Eagleman 70.3 and I am still working on planning out the rest of my season. One day I hope to make it to 70.3 Worlds…..like many of my fellow Full Send teammates here. I will still be under the guidance of Vanessa at Nor’Easter Tri….because for some reason she still enjoys coaching me even though I do not sleep enough, eat a lot of desserts, and drink a lot of beer.

What do I do outside of triathlon? I still am an avid equestrian rider. I own an off the track thoroughbred named Louie….his show name is Sip of Sunshine….you know after that delicious beer. Louie is full of sass and throws out some solid watts while jumping. I full send beers like it’s my job…oh wait it is one of my jobs, I sell promotional signs to breweries. Where are my fellow IPA lovers at?? I work at a Trek Bicycle shop, you know to get sweet discounts, and to be convinced I can MTB and do cross races. I am obsessed with cats and working toward a career as a stay at home cat mom, currently doing a ton of pet sitting to gain experience. I snowboard in the winter months, because what else are you suppose to do in New England. And most importantly I am in graduate school for Mental Health Counseling, can I be the team therapist?

What does Full Send Triathlon mean to me?

I was able to witness my teammate Justin, in the watermelón speedo, full send his way to a double national title at AG Nattys. I feel pretty cool to have been a part of this movement from the very beginning. I remember us all sitting at dinner at nationals dying laughing about all the write-ups with the full send quote. To me Full Send is more than just a team of young adults, it is a family that can inspire, motivate, and encourage not only each other, but those around us. We show our daily grind; the good and the bad. We go to local races, rep our team, and meet new friends. We are spreading the Full Send movement and lifestyle! I look forward to mashing watts and full sending beers with you all :)

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