Feature

Dynamic Duos

Nine pairs of people who, through their unique partnerships—some romantic, some not—make Denver a more interesting, entertaining and welcoming place to live.

February 2014

Iron Couple

Boulderites Mirinda Carfrae and Timothy O’Donnell are two of the top long-distance triathletes in the world. They just happen to be husband and wife, too.

Sometimes the laundry doesn’t get done in a timely manner at the Carfrae-O’Donnell household—and that’s OK. The professional triathletes—Mirinda Carfrae, 32, won her second Ironman World Championship in the women’s division this past year, and Timothy O’Donnell, 33,  placed fifth in the men’s division and was the top U.S. finisher—spend most of their time running, cycling, and swimming, which doesn’t leave a lot of time for chores. “We’re both competing at the highest level, and we’re both exhausted and just want to sit on the couch when we’re done training,” Carfrae says. “Sometimes we say, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a wife, or a mother?!’ ”

Of course, the upsides to being married to someone who’s also consistently pushing his or her body to its physical limits far outweigh the downsides. They challenge each other through friendly competition (Carfrae’s marathon time at last year’s Ironman World Championship was 29 seconds faster than O’Donnell’s). And the two can truly understand the highs and lows each other encounters as they train and compete throughout the year. “This is a crazy lifestyle,” O’Donnell says. “We don’t have day jobs and weekends off—it’s pretty much seven days a week. So I can see how it would be really difficult if you had a spouse who wanted to get out and live life and do weekend trips to Napa.” 

Instead, the couple—who got hitched this past December in Tabernash, near Winter Park—plans vacations around races. And although Carfrae and O’Donnell just tied the knot, we think it’s fair to presume that their partnership might spawn a new adage about married life: The couple that trains—and competes—together, stays together. 

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