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From Tragedy to Triumph


  • Compiled by SFU Athletics and Marketing

    ATH_ButlerRace_InTextStudies have shown that soccer players can run more than seven miles in a single game, but former women's soccer player Paige Butler topped 70.3 combined miles during her second half Ironman in Florida in April (2016). The race consisted of a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1-mile run. For Paige, the race was not just a way to stay in shape now that her collegiate soccer career is over. Her mission has a higher calling.

    Last September, just as the Red Flash's season was heating up, Paige received a call that her mother, Sharon, was killed in a drunk driving accident. She was riding her road bike and was only one mile from home when a 28-year-old drunk driver struck her from behind, killing her instantly.
     
    Paige had plans to complete a full Ironman with her mother upon her graduation with a doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2017. While she won't have the chance to compete with her mother, she is still working to match her mother's feat of completing an Ironman. Sharon had finished three. 

    The half Ironman Paige completed, in under six hours and sixth in her division, holds a special meaning for Paige. It's the same race she completed with her mother after graduating from high school four years ago.
     
    "I always questioned why she put herself through so much pain doing the Ironman, and now I know why," Paige said. "She did it to prove nothing is impossible, and the first step is to try. That's how I feel with my views to raise awareness for ending drunk driving. I want to raise awareness and fundraise to support Mothers Against Drunk Driving."
     
    ATH_ButlerandMomRace_InText In conjunction with her half Ironman, Paige set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for MADD. In just a few short months, she's already raised more than $8,000. Through these efforts, Paige is hoping that nobody else has to go through the kind of pain and loss she has gone through. 

    Paige will continue to raise money and awareness while she takes on her next journey: the full Ironman. 

    "I finally found a purpose. That's why I've become so passionate about it. It just reminds me every day that God wouldn't have given me this life if he didn't think I was going to be strong enough to live it. I'm so thankful for the life my mom's given me.”

    “(I will) just keep pushing, that's what she did. It’s worth every ‘tri.’"