Hi! My name is Ragen Chastain, and I’m a speaker, writer, activist, and fathlete. I’m a 3-time National Dance Champion, a two-time marathoner who holds the Guinness World Record for Heaviest Woman to Complete a Marathon, and a triathlete.

This blog started as a training blog for my journey to become an IRONMAN. But as that journey has dragged on unexpectedly (I’m going into year six of my two-year plan!) and changed (it’s now a journey to complete an Iron-distance triathlon) – I’ve found blogging about it to be a struggle.

So, at the end of 2019 I made the decision to make this a blog about more than just my training updates (though you’ll still find them here) but also about the intersections of Fitness and Fat Activism. If this sounds interesting to you, you can follow me by clicking the Follow button on the top right!

You can also:

Follow me on Instagram

Follow me on Twitter

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel

Follow me on Facebook 

Check out my blog at DancesWithFat (which focuses on Size Acceptance and Fat Rights)

Check out the Fit Fatties Forum (for people of all sizes who want to talk about fitness from a weight-neutral perspective)

Visit my professional speaking and writing page








14 Responses to About

  1. Susan says:

    You go for it! When I started training for my 1st Danskin triathlon I could neither swim nor bike. I could walk; I had just walked my 1st half marathon. By the end of the summer I still didn’t swim but I could dog paddle or swim on my side and I could bike – even tho I had to walk on hills. To say I was slow didn’t cover it. The 2nd year I cut 25 minutes off my time. I was unmistakable in my orange Tri suit. I’m almost 72 now and I just hope to do it again next year. Oh, last year I learned to swim! I was last in my 60+ age group but I was having fun.

    I hope you have fun training and your 1st triathlon. I will be cheering you on.


    Liked by 6 people

  2. nosnikrapzil says:

    You are amazing Ragen, an inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Melissa says:

    Sweet! I have been thinking of training for a triathlon myself, even though I can only dogpaddle and haven’t ridden a bike since junior high, and I’m only doing my first 5k on Saturday. Excited to learn that I may not be completely crazy, or that at least I’m not alone in my insanity. Two years seems like a good training timeframe. Can’t wait to follow along with your progress!

    Liked by 1 person

    • s2012 says:

      You took the words right out of my mouth. I am doing a half ironman next year(Aug 2016). I walked my first half marathon last year, i have registered for another one in Nov. I dont even have a bike yet. Will buy on in a month. I can’t say I can swim..But I can move from one point to another. I am still terrified of open water. Im glad I’m not crazy alone.


      • Thanks to both of you and good luck with your training! If you want my advice (and you’re certainly free to ignore it) get the bike as soon as you can and find someone who knows how to fit a bike on a fat body as soon as you can. It took me months to get a bike and more months (and three shops) to get it fitted properly and that’s definitely created a strain on my training. Also, I used Total Immersion swimming and it made a huge difference.

        Best of luck,




  4. I’ve been doing triathlon since the mid-90s, but I’ve never had it on my bucket list to do IM, or even Half IM. I only have so much endurance and I don’t have the time to focus on training and nutrition (I’ll be so interested to know how you manage your hydration and nutrition during your races because that’s something I have SO much difficulty with). I love the sport – especially the women in my age category (40 – 49). I find triathlon to be a very challenging but inclusive sport and I’ve raced with blind triathletes, fat triathletes, Little People triathletes and paratriathletes and we all compete and enjoy the sport together. It’s such a great community, but once you become an IM, you’re in a separate, ELITE category, so I can totally see you doing that and hearing that announcer call out, “Ragen Chastain, YOU are an IRONMAN!” Wooo hooo!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Emily says:

    This is awesome! Good luck!

    I’ve been doing triathlons for 20+ years and have attempted Iron Man twice but failed to make the time cutoff after the bike portion both times! It is a grueling haul to say the least!

    Train hard!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. djaggie says:

    I am so thankful I found your blog. I had hoped to do a 70.3 this year, but I have to have some hardware taken out of my leg first (that’s a story for another time). Suffice it to say that I am a larger than average “athlete” that enjoys getting my registration money out of races (read between the lines – I’m slow). I did not start running unitl I moved to Calgary simply because I couldn’t take the heat/humidity of Texas. I’ve done 11 halfs, 1 full, 1 du, and three sprint tris. I learned so much from each race, but the Subaru Banff Tri in the Canadian Rockies was the one that taught me the most. I’m back in Texas now and trying to juggle the kids’ schedules with my work schedule and get some training in while dodging the Texas heat index (thankfully it’s cooler now). Your attitude is the complete opposite to what seems to bombard me when I start talking 70.3/140.6 goals… Thank you for being you and for sharing it with me.


  7. Wow, that is very cool. I’ve read your stuff several times from a HAES angle but never knew you were training for an IM. I’ve done four IM’s (including AZ) and loved every minute of it so good on you! Good luck and let me know if you need help with nutrition (esp for the long rides), I’m a sports RD and specialize in endurance sports.


  8. B says:

    We may disagree about some fundamental things but great job this weekend. A mile plus some swim is no joke. I’m excited to see how well you’ll do in the full IM with this learning experience under your belt. If you’re ever on the east coast and decide you want a partner for a much, much, MUCH shorter (I’m talking sprint length) triathlon, let me know!


  9. Bill says:

    Hola! I’ve been reading your website for some time now and
    finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Lubbock
    Tx! Just wanted to tell you keep up the fantastic work!


  10. trippingonsunshine says:

    Hi Ragen, I just found your site and am so inspired. I hope you know about the Athena Triathletes Facebook group. It’s very helpful to me in my training. The name is: “Athena Triathletes (& Athena Alumnae) SEE QUESTIONS 2 JOIN” Best of luck!


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