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Where Are They Now?

Colleen Cannon


Colleen Cannon at the long-distance Horny Toad Triathlon in 1984. 


Cannon today, still smiling. "Bascially, we jusst play," she says about her adventure travel company, Vision Quest. 

There cannot be a list of female triathlon pioneers without the name of Colleen Cannon figuring up near the very top – not unlike the way she figured in the top-ten standings of major Olympic-distance races for the better part of the 1980s and early 90s.

Like so many early triathletes, Cannon was a national level competitive swimmer in college before moving into multisport.  She was a fixture on the Bud Light USTS from 1982-1992, winning the Coke Red Jersey in 1987 and the USTS Series Championship at Hilton Head Island, SC in 1988. She was a USAT (at the time “Tri-Fed”) national sprint-distance champion the following year. With little in the way of ultra-distance aspirations, Cannon was happy to let others contend at the Ironman in Kona, although her resume included a victory at the Nice Triathlon in France and multiple appearances at the Horney Toad long-distance tri in San Diego. 

It is impossible to describe or visualize Cannon without a genuinely happy smile on her face. Few pro triathletes seemed to enjoy the multisport environment with greater enthusiasm – an attitude she has carried over into her post-competitive career as the founder of the Boulder-based Women’s Quest Inc., a company that organizes adventure-based retreats in exotic locations for women designed to “spark your senses, revitalize your body, and soothe your soul.” 

Women’s Quest is based on everything I learned about living well while I was an athlete,” Cannon said.  She emphasized that athletic ability and prior athletic experience are not requirements for her Vision Quest clients. “Basically,” she said, we pretty much play.”