“In August 2021,
I became an Ironman”

Shortly after moving to Vernon and turning 40 I decided to pursue a life long goal of completing an Ironman. In high school I was a competitive runner and during that period I loved watching NBC’s special on the Hawaii Ironman, dreaming of one day competing in all three endurance disciplines and cross that finish to become an Ironman.

In 2019 I completed an Executive MBA which outside of family and work had taken all my free time for the previous two years. I had neglected my fitness and knew it was time to put some focus back in that area of my life. I started researching on coaches and to my surprise found out Melissa Spooner was coaching and had been running a club out of Vernon.  Mel is pretty modest about it but having followed the Hawaii Ironman right away I knew the name and knew about her accomplishments as one of Canada’s top competitor from the era that I believed was made the Ironman so reciginized today.

I worked with Mel for 10 months training for the Calgary 70.3 Ironman. The set up was great, we had group runs every week right through winter, joined Vernon masters swim where she also coaches and she took the time to show many of the great bike training routes around the area.

Her coaching style is simple but highly affective which I assume comes from her experience and having competed at a high level. Over the course of our training period we had lots of great discussions about afford, building, nutrition, speed and competing. It was great learning from someone like her.

In August 2021 I became an Ironman, crossing that finish line with a fitness level that I had lost for a long time and with an endurance that I never had.

My philosophy in selecting a coach paid off.  If you’re going to invest in a coach, invest in one like Mel.  Not only is she an accomplished Ironman with tones of experience, she’s a great person to work with and has helped build a great community within the sport.

Thank you Mel!

I have a funny story to share. Never did a triathlon before and could barely swim 4mths out before my first Ironman! With your coaching I achieved my goal. 

“What really amazed me was how happy and enthused they seemed during their training and how much fun they were having”

My name is Lynda, I live in Vernon and I started doing triathlons around 2010.   I did a few sprints and Olympic distance events and met Mel at the pool where she was coaching masters swimming.   Some of the other swimmers were being coached by her for Ironman, which was so far out of my comfort zone but so impressive !    

What really amazed me was how happy and enthused they seemed during their training and how much fun they were having.   As the events happened, they finished with such positivity about their experiences, it just blew me away!

   I had always trained by myself and just thought “I need me some of that!”   

In 2019, when I turned 59, I decided I needed to do something special when I turned 60, and asked Mel to coach me for Ironman Whistler.   I had no idea how I would fit in the training with my full time job, but with her guidance, it was a lot easier than I ever imagined.    On my own, I am sure I would have felt I needed to do more .   

Like the friends I had watched, I was happy doing the training and smiled the whole day in Whistler at the thought of actually becoming an Ironman!   

Mel coached me for my 4th Ironman this year and I am not finished with this sport yet!

“Trust her and she will make you an Ironman!!!!!!!!”

I would never ever train for an Ironman without Melissa as my coach! It is such an epic journey, why wouldn’t you enlist the help of an expert? She has gotten me to the start line and finish line 4 times, and each time I was so well prepared and so well trained it was surprising doable. Don’t get me wrong, it is a long day, but a a day like no other. It will leave you smiling for weeks after! I love the no-nonsense down to earth approach Melissa takes when training her athletes. No matter what challenges come your way, she can find a solution. She will customize the training schedule to fit you and  what life throws you. She is extremely approachable and very easy to talk to. There is nothing she has not seen or heard, so you will be in excellent hands.
Trust her and she will make you an Ironman!!!!!!!!!


“Mel became my coach in the winter of 2018 and it was the best thing I ever did…”

Ironman was always a dream/bucket list for me to accomplish and in 2017 I signed up for my first full distance Ironman in the summer of 2018. I had books on how to train for half and full distance Ironman’s but quickly discovered books don’t account for lifestyle, ability, health, and well, life in general. In chatting with my neighbor about it he advised it would be best to talk to a coach and he suggested Mel. Mel became my coach in the winter of 2018 and it was the best thing I ever did. Mel tailored my training plan based on my life style so training was part of my life rather than my life being training. I raced in 2018 and following that race I signed up for 2019 and then 2020 (which became 2022). Mel’s style of coaching worked perfect for me, she has a hands on approach always checking in and tweaking plans when life changes. The work that goes into training is not easy but the reward is something that is hard to describe. When I crossed the finish lines and the announcer called out my name saying I am an Ironman my heart and soul was filled with such an accomplishment and pride because no one can do the work for you but also no one can take that amazing feeling away either. I do not believe I could have done it without coaching. The benefits of coaching goes beyond training plans, I gained so much knowledge about the sport: running, swimming, biking, transitions, equipment, nutrition, and putting it all together. As a benefit of all this I became part of something, part of a sort of club building valuable friendships along the way. The past five years has been nothing but amazing and I am forever grateful for the people I have met and learning I have the ability to accomplish something as big as an Ironman. 

Mel helped me train and to work out my food for the long day of Ironman, and I finished my first Ironman when I was 50! Thank you Mel

Warren Macdougall

I can't wait to hear all about your journey!

Mel Spooner

"I am forever grateful for the people I have met and learning I have the ability to accomplish something as big as an Ironman"

Lenora Neilson

Where to find us
2800 26th Street, 
Vernon BC VIT 4T7
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