Athlete Profile: Jolene Wilkinson


sandbag 4Jolene Wilkinson is a quiet competitor that is likely to sneak up and find herself on the podium at almost all the races she competes in. This 41-year old living in Boise, Idaho spends her days as a Social Worker and Triathlon Coach in the civilian world, Services Specialist in the Idaho Air Guard for my military career. When not working she can be found training and finding races to conquer!

How did you get involved in your sport?

Visiting my best friend in TX, signed up to do the Beast and fell in love with OCR…but I think my first OCR event was really in Basic Training where they let me go first and I raced through the obstacle course!


Were you always an athlete?

I was never a natural athlete, but I always liked moving and being active and I had the heart and mind of an athlete. I started gymnastics when I was 4 and started competing shortly after that


What are some of your athletic achievements?

I competed at the junior elite level in gymnastics; supposedly I am in the Little League Hall of Fame for being one the first girls to play baseball. I also competed 26 years in triathlon including 10 as a pro. I was 2x junior national champion, 3 X age group world champion, military master’s world champion, and military Ironman champion in 2012. Competed in Olympic Trials in 2000 for Time Trial in cycling.




What are your goals for the upcoming season?

Keep improving on my weaknesses, stay healthy, and have fun while also getting closer to the fast girls. One of my other goals is to form a partnership with an organization to get wounded vets involved in OCR. I have a huge heart for vets and would love to see a heat of wounded vets to use training/racing as a form of therapy.


Who is/are your inspiration?

Anyone who has overcome immense challenges and obstacles in their life to do amazing things; those who put their lives on the line for our freedom and country; and also my parents (dad passed away) who were always supportive of my crazy dreams.


What is your most proud moment in sport?

podium 2I have a few…1. I was one of those little girls who moved away from home at a young age to train at a gymnastics academy, it was an honor that a top coach would see potential in me. 2. Winning my 1st junior national title in triathlon. The year before, I got crushed. I came back and nobody expected a small town girl racing on a mail-order bike that was way too big could beat girls with way more talent and racing on custom bikes could win. 3. Winning the military master’s triathlon. I got to stand of the top of the podium hearing the national anthem playing and hand on my heart and representing not only my country, but my country’s military. My mom was there and she told me my dad would have been proud.


winter 09 033What is your most proud moment in life?

Every time I get to wear my Air Force uniform.


How do you overcome a bad race or training day?

It is hard to have bad days when you keep things in perspective. I am so grateful that I GET TO DO THIS! I have friends who are battling cancer, others who are out fighting in the war…really, this is just a sport. I also remember a time where I almost lost my own life and all I wanted to do was to go outside and walk. I don’t take anything for granted now, no bad days.


What is your training routine like?

I consider everything training since there are so many things I like to do. I mix up running, biking, swimming, yoga, skiing, paddling, crossfit. I think at my age I really have to focus a lot more on recovery activities so I can do this longer.


Nordic skier Jolene Wilkinson skate skiing the "Farm Loop" in Park City, Utah.What advice would you give to someone starting out in your sport?

Have fun. Our sport is an incredible way to get fit in a fun way. I have seen way too many talented athletes burn out because their whole life revolves around their sport and it stops being fun.


What is your favorite pre-race and post-race food?

Before a race, I eat homemade energy balls made from dates and a mix of other things + a homemade energy drink. After a race, I like to try the local specialties. I love food and that is a perk of traveling and racing at different venues.


When not training and competing what do you do with your down time?

I volunteer doing animal therapy mostly with horses, spend time with my boyfriend/friends/dog, camp, travel, ski, paddle, cook, read, garden, go to church, or sleep.


What is your favorite quote to motivate you?

I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure-Eric Liddell; No Regrets-my daily motto


What is the best advice a coach ever gave you?

I don’t remember anything specific, but all of my coaches taught me hard work and discipline. As a gymnast, I trained 30-35 hours a week. I am a free-spirit at heart, so this work ethic has spilled over in all areas of my life. I have always had to work harder than others, so the setting goals and actually seeing some of my dreams come true has been a result of this gift they have all given me.


If you could share some advice to the next generation of athletes, what would it be?

Again, have fun and balance in your life. Dream big and live with no regrets. I am an example of someone who came from a small town with no opportunities who is not a natural athlete, yet I have followed my heart. If I can do this, anyone can.

Margaret Schlachter

About Margaret Schlachter

Margaret Schlachter is Founder of She has been part of the OCR Community since 2010. When not working on the next article she can be found running from race-to-race. She is Editor-in-Chief of She authored the book Obstacle Race Training.
This entry was posted in Dirt In Your Skirt Athlete Profile Series and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to posts:

  •   Hyper Vest SXY and FIT from
  • Instagram

    • I’ve been waiting for over a year for @michael.pollan new book to be released. I have been telling everyone I know that this book will be a game changer much like The Omnivore’s Dilemma.
100 pages in and I have wanted to cosmically hug Pollan so many times for brining this information and stories to light.
This book offers a profound insight into a world that many of us have experienced and not many can but the words to it.
Part historical, part first-hand experiences, and all with that famous Pollan storytelling flair.
Bravo Mr. Pollan and thank you 🙏
#howtochangeyourmind #michaelpollan #bookstagram #weekendreading #elevateyourmind
    • Run 🏃🏻‍♀️ Fish 🎣Run 🏃🏻‍♀️
A different way to earn your dinner 🍴
#utahhiking #runfishrun #headsweatsambassador #headsweats #keepacoolhead #familytime❤️ #weekendadventure #earnyourview #earnyourdinner #fishinggirls #americanforkcanyon #inov_8 #utahtrails #utahtrailrunning #utahtrailgirls #getoutsideandplay
    • More prototypes from @meanmugspotteryco - the same color glaze on each only one is a half dip and the other a full dip.
Half or Full?
Love sharing this process with the entire DIYS community!
#meanmugspottery #mugswithmeaning #prototypes #womenownedbusinesses #handmademugs #madeinutah #slc
    • The prototypes are in for the Dirt in Your Skirt mugs by @meanmugspotteryco
Weigh in and tell me what you think. Does one glaze stand out to you?
If you aren’t psyched about any let me know and we can try other glazed.
The women at Mean Mugs Pottery Co are awesome and so cool to work with. They let me stop by each step of the process and I will be documenting the production of the final product! And having them on the podcast.
But let me know what you think...
#handmademug #womensupportingwomen #womenownedbusiness #dirtinyourskirt #prototypes #meanmugs #mugswithmeaning #madewithpassion #womenhelpingwomenwin
    • The smiles that happen when you watch your kids (dogs in my case) completely enjoy nature, you redefine your company’s mission, and get some vitamin D.
All on a quick 6.5 mile run this morning after finishing up @mudrunguide and Other projects before 9am.
But mostly the smile is from learning how to get out and go for a run without the “not good enough” self talk, without chasing some race goal, making sure I am in the right HR zone, doing it because it was on a schedule or any of the other reasons I once hit the trails.
These days I am slow, walk when I want, don’t have a training goal, stop when it’s not fun and really get outside without any purpose - other than fun.
I spent over 20 years following training plans and chasing that next PR.
It’s been a hard learning process just to get out for no other reason or purpose than you want to be there and want to be outside. No GPS watch, no strava, no pr’s, just me, my dogs, and the mountains.
I think the smile says it all.
#runningwithdogs #headsweats #headsweatsambassador #keepacoolhead #trailtime #trailrunning #findyourbalance #findyourbliss #exploreconquerinspire #getoutside #utahtrails #utahtrailrunning #selfcaretime #findyoursmile
    • Eight years ago today my life would forever change, without me knowing it at the moment.
I headed off to this @spartan thing outside of Burlington, Vermont. I had just come out of a pretty dark time that included, losing my job and home in one conversation, a brush with a near DUI, and a complete mental collapse.
I picked myself up after having to move back home for a couple months, spent time volunteering, became a certified wilderness EMT, and took a hard look at my life.
By chance a friend had “liked” this new kind of race and brand called Spartan Race. On a whim I signed up, out of shape, and in search of something.
These photos are from that first Spartan Race on May 16, 2010. Crossing the finish line I knew I found something. Not knowing what that something was yet...
In the last eight years, my life has transformed. New job, new home, a husband, dogs, cat, book, countless articles written, mentioned in numerous publications, and the latest my podcast.
If I had told that semi-broken young woman what lay ahead she won’t have believed you. I don’t believe it some days.
While I might not have the largest bank accounts or most followers or any of that. I do have a wealth of experiences and friendship that are the most important things in life.
I have created and shaped a life I want to live and continue the journey of self-discovery while being able to help others.
My takeaway is the smallest decision can profoundly change your life if you let it.
My heart continues to be filled with humble gratitude for the abundance in my life. I am forever grateful for that first race and the people (many who are good friends today) who put on that crazy first event in 2010.
Oh and we can look back at the obstacles and giggle as we see the progression of the sport and the @spartanrace brand.
#spartan #spartanrace #mudrunguide #lifechangingmoments #lifechangingjourney #honorthemoment #spartans #obstacleracing #ocr #mudrun #wewerejustkids #funfirst #dosomethingnew #gratitude🙏
    • Went to the woods this afternoon with friends for some nature time with a little mushroom hunting on the side.
Came home with enough to share the spoils and enjoy a nice dinner.
Definitely an earn your meal afternoon in the woods!
#mushroomhunting #morels #morelseason #getoutside #foragedfood #forager #moveyourdna #stacking #utah #natureheals #naturetime #mountaintherapy #mountainviews #keepacoolhead #headsweatsambassador #headsweats #funwithfriends #utahhiking
    • Ever see those people who are 💯 themselves 💯 of the time and wonder how they do it?
Sarah Knight @mcsnugz is the international bestselling author of three books teaching you how to give less f*cks, get your sh*t together, and her latest is about you doing you unapologetically, and without people thinking you are a psycho in the process 😏
Such a fun episode to record and Sarah is a rockstar anti-guru who uses colorful language to distill rock solid information. Find it on your favorite player or the website, link in the profile.
#sarahknightauthor #sarahknightbooks #liveunapologetically #liveauthentically #givelessfucks #youdoyou #antiguru #womenleaders #femalepodcaster #podcasts #speakyourtruth #womenpodcast #womenpodcasters
    • Saying goodby sucks, but Puss Puss lived like a boss all the way to the end, capturing his last mouse just eight days ago.
This photo was taken yesterday by Forest as Puss Puss loved drinking out of the pond. We have him lots of love last night and let him go on his terms this morning completing the life/death cycle with grace.
Photo Credit: @sevenlovespirals

    Follow Me!