Sarah Reinertsen

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Sarah Reinertsen
ITU Paratriathlon Worlds - Handler for Sarah Reinertsen (9804038075).jpg
Personal information
Born (1975-05-22) May 22, 1975 (age 44)
New York, USA
ResidenceCalifornia, USA
Height5 ft 0 in (1.52 m)
Disabilityproximal femoral focal deficiency
Disability classTRI-2
Updated on 16 February 2017.

Sarah Reinertsen (born 22 May 1975) is an American paratriathlete and former Paralympic track athlete. She was born with proximal femoral focal deficiency, a bone-growth disorder; her affected leg was amputated above the knee at age seven.[1]

Early athletics career[edit]

Inspired by amputee marathon runner Paddy Rossbach,[2] Reinertsen began to run at age 11. At her first international track meet, when she was 13, she broke the 100 m world record for female above-knee amputees,[2] her T42 400 m world record time, set in 1999, still stands today.[3]

Reinertsen was a member of the US Disabled Track Team for 7 years,[4] she represented the USA at the 1992 Summer Paralympics[5] but found herself racing arm amputees due to low numbers of female competitors.[6] Although she was then world record holder in her own classification,[6] she came last in her heat.[7]

Ironman Triathlon and other endurance events[edit]

Reinertsen was the first female leg amputee to complete the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii,[8] she first attempted the race in 2004, but was disqualified when she reached the end of the bike course 15 minutes after cut-off time. She returned to Kona in 2005, with a motto of 'Unfinished Business', and crossed the finish line in just over 15 hours.

Reinertsen has run marathons around the world, including NYC, LA, Millennium New Zealand, London and Boston.[2][9] In 2011, she was the first female leg amputee to run in The Great Wall Marathon in China, completing the 10k event in 1:49.[10]

Reinertsen has broken the women's above-knee amputee marathon record several times[11] but does not currently hold it.[12]

ITU Paratriathlon[edit]

In 2003,[13] 2007[14] and 2009,[15] Reinertsen was ITU Paratriathlon World Champion in her classification, she placed second (behind Melissa Stockwell) in 2011.[15] Reinertsen was a member of the USA Triathlon Paratriathlon National Team in 2008,[14] 2009,[16] 2010[17] and 2011.[18]

While better-known for her success in Ironman Triathlon, Reinertsen states that her "focus for 2013 and beyond is to train to qualify for the (newly introduced, sprint distance) triathlon event at the Paralympics in 2016".[6][10][19]

The Amazing Race[edit]

In 2006, Reinertsen competed with her friend, Ironman and prosthetist Peter Harsch,[20] on The Amazing Race 10, where they were eliminated in 7th place.

Honors and awards[edit]


Reinertsen is a spokesperson for Ossur[23] and the Challenged Athletes Foundation.[1]

In 2004, she was featured on the cover of Runner's World[24] and named one of the first eight "Heroes of Running" in the magazine,[13] she has also appeared on the cover of Triathlete magazine,[25] Max Sports & Fitness[26] and Competitor,[27] and was controversially photographed naked for The Body Issue of ESPN.[28] Reinertsen was featured in the 2008 Lincoln MKZ 'Reach Higher' campaign [29] and the 2011 'Nike Throwdown' TV commercial.[30] Alongside elite athletes including Mirinda Carfrae, Chris Lieto, Nathan Adrian and Dara Torres, she is one of the faces of the 2012 Team Refuel/Got Chocolate Milk? campaign.[31]

In 2009, Reinertsen released a memoir, In a Single Bound: Losing My Leg, Finding Myself and Training for Life.[2]

She graduated from The George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs with a BA in Communication and International Affairs, and received her MA in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Southern California.[32] Formerly a sports journalist, once working for NBC,[11] she is now a motivational speaker.[33]

A native of New York, Reinertsen now lives and trains in California.


  1. ^ a b "Sarah Reinertsen" (PDF). Challenged Athletes Foundation. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 18 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d Sarah Reinertsen (2009). In a Single Bound: Losing My Leg, Finding Myself and Training for Life. Globe Perquot Press.
  3. ^ "IPC Athletics World Records". International Paralympic Committee. Archived from the original on 1 September 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
  4. ^ "Sarah Reinertsen". USA Triathlon. Retrieved 19 Jan 2013.
  5. ^ "Athlete Search Results: Sarah Reinertsen". International Paralympic Committee. Retrieved 18 Jan 2013.
  6. ^ a b c "She still dreams about Paralympic gold". Orange County Register. 27 Aug 2012. Retrieved 19 Aug 2013.
  7. ^ "Barcelona 1992 Paralympic Games - Athletics - Women's 100 m TS4". International Paralympic Committee.
  8. ^ "Reinertsen's finished business". 25 Oct 2005. Archived from the original on 16 February 2013. Retrieved 19 Jan 2013.
  9. ^ "Sarah Reinertsen's Results". Athlink. Retrieved 19 Jan 2013.
  10. ^ a b "Running on Plenty". China Daily. 26 May 2011. Retrieved 19 Jan 2013.
  11. ^ a b c "Sarah Reinertsen". A Step Ahead Prosthetics. Archived from the original on 2013-02-15. Retrieved 19 Jan 2013.
  12. ^ "Denver runner sets amputee marathon record". Denver Post. 20 Jan 2009. Retrieved 18 Jan 2013.
  13. ^ a b "Heroes of Running 2004". Runner's World. Archived from the original on 2013-02-16. Retrieved 19 Jan 2013.
  14. ^ a b "Physically Challenged National Team Announced". USA Triathlon. Archived from the original on 23 August 2012. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
  15. ^ a b "Sarah Reinertsen: Results". International Triathlon Union.
  16. ^ "Paratriathlon National Team Named". USA Triathlon. 8 May 2009. Retrieved 19 Jan 2013.
  17. ^ "USAT names 2010 Paratriathlon National Team". USA Triathlon. 30 April 2010. Retrieved 19 Jan 2013.
  18. ^ "USA Triathlon names 2011 USA Paratriathlon National Team". 16 May 2011. Retrieved 18 Jan 2013.
  19. ^ "Paratriathlon officially added to program for 2016 Paralympic games". USA Triathlon. 11 December 2010. Retrieved 19 Jan 2013.
  20. ^ "Peter Harsch". LAVA Magazine. April–May 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
  21. ^ "Challenged Athlete Star of the Year". San Diego Hall of Champions. Archived from the original on 2013-02-16. Retrieved 18 Jan 2013.
  22. ^ "Reinertsen Follows ESPY with Amazing Race". Retrieved 18 Jan 2013.
  23. ^ "Team Ossur: Sarah Reinertsen". Retrieved 18 Jan 2013.
  24. ^ "Runners World, December 2004: cover". Sarah Reinertsen's website. Retrieved 19 Jan 2013.
  25. ^ "The 20 best Triathlete covers of all time". June 2011. Retrieved 19 Jan 2013.
  26. ^ "Max Sports & Fitness, March 2006: cover". Sarah Reinertsen's website. Retrieved 19 Jan 2013.
  27. ^ "Competitor, August 2008: cover". Sarah Reinertsen's website. Retrieved 19 Jan 2013.
  28. ^ "Your latest ESPN mag The Body Issue nude cover is here". sportsbybrooks. Retrieved 19 Jan 2013.
  29. ^ "Paralympian appears in Lincoln car ads". Media dis&dat. 3 Feb 2008. Retrieved 19 Jan 2013.
  30. ^ "Nike Women's Throwdown Anthem". youtube. Retrieved 19 Jan 2013.
  31. ^ "Team Refuel Captains". Archived from the original on 2013-01-17. Retrieved 18 Jan 2013.
  32. ^ "About Sarah". Sarah Reinertsen's website. Retrieved 19 Jan 2013.
  33. ^ "Speaking". Sarah Reinertsen's website. Retrieved 19 Jan 2013.

External links[edit]