Triathletes Who Inspire Us: Leanna Lee

I’m constantly impressed by the triathletes in our community and am regularly bewildered by how much they are able to jam into their days. Long-time supporter of Team Atomica (and my most consistent training partner), Leanna Lee is one such triathlete and she inspires me daily. Having raced professionally on the ITU circuit, regularly travelling to races around the world while pursuing her PhD in Medical Science and working part-time, Dr. Lee became a master of time-management.


Leanna Lee. Photo credit:

As a short course specialist, Leanna races Olympic, sprint, and super sprint as part of the Major-League series. The former gymnast and swimmer-turned varsity pole-vaulter came to triathlon in her 20s, but high-level sport has always been a part of her life. She’s faced many challenges along the way, but her spirit remains undaunted and if her schedule was not already full, the current post-doctoral fellow in amputee rehabilitation and part-time research associate in cardiac rehabilitation is in the middle of applying to medical school. When I’m hammering loops around the TT course in Markham with Leanna and feeling like I’m about to implode, I think of everything she’s balancing just to be out there with me and it’s absolutely humbling. Inevitably, given her example, I’m able to find another gear. Leanna’s commitment to integrating her career in health care alongside her sport career is remarkable to witness.

One of the many things Leanna has taught me is just how important all the extras are in terms of our longevity as athletes, including consistent and dedicated strength work. Leanna can sprint on the bike like a boss and no doubt that comes in part from her work in the gym (having to unload many plates while sharing a squat rack with her, I can attest to just how heavy she can lift!). Her attitude towards life and training helps reinforce my own commitments to getting the best of myself. In 2015 director Chris Muir of Someplace Nice productions sought out Leanna to showcase her resilience in a promotional video for the Pan Am Games. If you’re in need of some extra motivation for your next hard workout, you’ll want to check that video out.

I recently recorded a rapid-fire interview with Leanna while out on a run.

Suzanne Zelazo: Swim, bike, or run?

Leanna Lee: Bike


SZ: Favourite race?

LL: St. Anthony’s Triathlon


SZ: Track or treadmill?

LL: Track.


SZ: Sprint or super sprint?

LL: Sprint by a hair.


SZ: Gwen Jorgenson or gymnast Simone Biles?

LL: Ooooh. Sorry, Gwen! I have to go back to my roots and say Simon Biles.


SZ: The MCAT or a Power Test on the bike?

LL: Hahaha. Power Test on the bike hands down.


In case you missed the link above check out this inspiring video of Leanna!