On September 11, 2021, First Lieutenant (1stLt) Stephanie Murphy proved herself to be the fastest female triathlete in the Armed Services when she claimed the gold medal at the Armed Forces Triathlon Championship, held on Naval Base Ventura County, CA. Finishing the Olympic-distance event in an impressive two hours and nine minutes, she took the lead in the last event of the triathlon, the 10K run, and crossed the finish line in first, narrowly edging out her competition.

When asked about competing for USMC, 1stLt Murphy stated “The Armed Forces Championship is a great experience… Racing in a USMC uniform is immeasurably more meaningful and powerful than racing for my own name, and it provides the extra motivation when you think about all that you are representing.”

1stLtMurphy is relatively new to the sport, but she did grew up in an endurance sport family. “I grew up running because both my parents and older sister were runners, but got into the sport when I joined the triathlon team at [the U.S. Naval Academy]. My dad is a triathlete, which definitely influenced me to consider trying out for the team.”

As an endurance sport, triathlon can be difficult to train for, with typical training sessions taking an hour or more. 1stLt Murphy says the key to consistent training is to build your community. “It’s difficult to consistently train while being active duty and fulfilling operational requirements, but the best way for me has always been to train with other people instead of focusing on a strict training plan. Participating in the Okinawa Dolphins masters swim team helped me enjoy instead of dread swim workouts and enabled me to push myself more than I could on my own. Joining group rides on the weekends and getting together with friends for ‘Fast Friday’ track workouts also makes training fun and sustainable instead of a chore.”

And while the training regimens and the potential price tag of the sport may be a turn-off for some, 1stLt Murphy does have a few tips for those looking to get into the sport: “Before investing in any fancy gear, borrow a bike if you don’t have one and sign up for a local sprint-distance triathlon to see if you actually enjoy the sport!” She also notes that “Joining in with a group for training is the most fun, but there are plenty of resources online for workout ideas or training plans… Local triathlon or cycling clubs can be a great resource, and there are plenty of Facebook groups where people organize for workouts. Triathlon is becoming more and more popular in the military community, so simply by asking around, most Marines could likely find a triathlete in their unit who can answer their questions and help them get more involved in the sport.”

1stLt Murphy also recognizes what the sport has done for her and how she can use it for others. “The sport itself has taught me a lot about the balance between mental toughness, recognizing where my limits are, and how to safely and creatively push those limits. That skill is directly applicable to many aspects of life in the Marine Corps, and is something that I hope I can help pass on to others.”

1stLt Stephanie Murphy is a Communications Strategy Officer assigned to the III Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) Information Group aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Butler in Okinawa, Japan.

For more, check out the All-Marine Sports page. Follow Marine Corps Community Services on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for information on Marine Corps sports.