Using Triathlons to Overcome Adversity: Diana Woolf

Fit Strong Women Over 50 Podcast Episode #28

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In episode 28 of the Fit Strong Women Over 50 Podcast, Jill and Chris talk with Diana Woolf about how she overcame her PTSD resulting from years in the fire service and how that motivated her to try to help others battling PTSD.

In 2009, Diana Woolf began competing in off-road trail races and triathlons to deal with her own PTSD symptoms and found great healing in the sport. Since then, she has competed in over 50 triathlons, including 7 half-distance and 3 full-distance Ironman triathlons, consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and a 26.2 mile marathon.

Diana has been a part of the fire service for 20 years serving on volunteer, part-time and career departments. Diana retired from her fire service career in December, 2018.  She now works in Environmental Health and Safety at the University of Akron.

Using Triathlons to Overcome Adversity

In order to raise awareness for others in the fire service who are battling PTSD, Diana has completed some of the full-distance Ironman triathlons while wearing full fire-fighting gear for the marathon-length run. She created Rescue 4 PTSD to help raise funds for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and to encourage others in the fire service to discuss their emotions with someone. Diana wants to help remove any stigma of dealing with PTSD and to support resources for others in the fire service.

In this episode, Diana talks with Jill and Chris about how she heals trauma through hard physical effort. She also discusses her training to be able to compete while wearing firefighting gear and how she cross trains. Diana does CrossFit in the off season and practices yoga on a regular basis. She attributes her lack of injury to yoga. Diana also tells us how she eats and how she fuels herself during a race.

Diana’s journey is an inspirational one. It’s amazing to hear what she has done to challenge herself.


Contact Diana Woolf: Rescue 4 PTSD

Rescue 4 PTSD Website

National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

Diana’s Ironman Boulder Video

You might want to check out an earlier episode of this podcast for a discussion with another triathlete, Loretta Harland.  Episode 18 of Strong Fit Women Over 50, Interview with Loretta Harland



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