Patricia Collins, a U.S. Army Colonel, became the new world-record holder for a woman with a unilateral amputation in an Ironman 70.3 distance triathlon. Collins completed the 2013 Intermedix Ironman 70.3 in Augusta, Georgia, which was held September 29, with a time of 5:32:41, which topped the previous record of 5:36:00 set by Amy Palmiero-Winters in 2006.
“People look at me and know what my challenge is. But everyone has a challenge, everyone has a story,” Collins said. “The ability to get to the start line is huge, and I believe if you can get yourself there, you’re on the road to recovering or achieving. You’re already winning your battle.”
Collins, who served in the military in both Iraq and Afghanistan, severely injured her leg in 2006 after being hit by a car while riding a bicycle at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In 2007 she elected to have her injured leg amputated and received a prosthetic leg six weeks later and was riding a bike two months later. Since then, she has been named the 2011 National ParaCycling Champion in the Time Trial and Road Race; the 2012 National and World ParaTriathlon Champion (Sprint Distance); and received second place at the 2013 World ParaTriathlon (sprint distance).
Collins is the only woman with an amputation serving on active duty in the military. A 22-year veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, she currently is assigned to the Joint Staff at the Pentagon, working in communications.