This 2024 season we welcomed 24 athletes to be a part of Team Bellingham, 10 of which are brand new Athlete Ambassadors. We are now officially halfway through 2024 and all of our athletes have been out there racing locally and nationally! It has been amazing to watch everyone absolutely crush this year so far.  We will highlight specific races that our athletes have been racing in as well as general updates!


Cherilyn Suiter

It’s so fun to watch Cherilyn thrive and enjoy her comeback to triathlon after a 20-year break. Her positivity and love for the sport shines through her connections in the sport. Following her training and racing journey on social media is a lot of fun to be apart of.

Cherilyn’s year so far…

Cherilyn’s Half Marathon Finish at The Mill Town Marathon in Everett.

“Well, the past few months have been a blast! I am in my third year of triathlon 2.0 after a very long hiatus and I have been learning to swim, bike and run again (and everything in between). In March I completed my first half marathon! It was difficult and I had a few issues on race day, but overall, it was a great experience and a stepping stone to longer things to come. After the half, I switched gears to Duathlon and drove down to beautiful Vancouver, WA a few weeks ago for the Spring Classic Duathlon. I did well but managed to get annihilated in my age division. I definitely have my work cut out for the running portion! This past weekend I raced in the Mt. Rainier Duathlon flat course on a very rainy course. I had my second fastest bike ride in my 2.0 life and managed to also PR my run pace for a multisport race!

I am continuing to try to raise money for the USA Triathlon Foundation – you can read my story and donate here.

UP NEXT will be Lake Whatcom Triathlon where I will be doing my first Olympic Distance Triathlon in a really really long time. Up until this year, I have been mostly racing Aquabike, so this will definitely be interesting!”

Follow Cherilyn on Instagram and Facebook




Debbie Eckhouse

If you’ve met Debbie, you know that her joy for sport, triathlon specifically, is truly contagious. If you haven’t met Deb, fortunately, you can still feel the love through her authentic and inspiring social media posts. This year is Debbie’s first year as a professional triathlete. She has already raced 3 professional Ironman 70.3 triathlons: Puerto-Rico, Oceanside, and Peru. She was going to take on her first full Ironman in Hamburg Germany, but a glute niggle has influenced her to not rush her recovery and wait till racing again till she can fully get back to crushing the run training.

Debbie’s year so far…

Deb dropping some watt bombs at Ironman 70.3 Pucon.

“The start of 2024 marked the beginning of my first season as a professional Triathlete. First stop of the journey began in Chile’s interior at Pucon 70.3. Exploring Pucon was like a dream. The cute mountain town felt surprisingly similar to the PNW with green rolling hills and a pristine crisp lake. The main difference was the iconic backdrop, an active volcano named El Volcan. I felt incredibly lucky to be in such a beautiful place. While every day leading into race day was the perfect weather and temperature, D-Day felt like Poseidon came to visit.

Giant waves took over the once calm shores of Lago Villarica. The race organizers debated shortening the swim. Sideways wind and rain flooded the bike course. And while the rain let up on the run, the wind stayed constant through the late afternoon. After a slow swim, it took me the entire bike leg to get into a competitive position. I went from last place to 8th by the time I reached T2. On the first loop of the run, I caught two more women to hold 6th for some time. However, during the second loop, my glute strain took over my pace and had me just holding on until the end. Finishing in 8th place on a tough course on a tough day, I was grateful for the entire experience. An impression was made and left me craving more. I loved every aspect of Pucon so much, two weeks later I signed up for my second South American race in Lima, Peru.

In April I ventured south again for another unforgettable experience. This time the swim was in the Pacific Ocean. Waves were anticipated. They were long and rolling which were not nearly as bad as the unpredictable lake tsunamis of Pucon. And while the traffic through Lima is known to be some of the worst in the world, on race day the Green Coast Hwy was closed for 3 loops of some fast bicycle fun. After not finishing nearly as far behind in the swim as usual, I worked my way up quickly through the bike leg. This time going from last to 3rd place by the time I entered transition. It was a female bike course record of 2 hours and 15 minutes, holding 25mph for 56 miles. Dropping cycling cleats for sneakers, I started the run right on pace. However, like clockwork, one loop into a 3-loop run and my glute strain came alive again. Even with a slower 2nd and 3rd lap, my run finished just under 1:30 with my best 70.3 time thus far: 4:26. I also finished 6th overall and smiling ear to ear. Now my sights are set on fully repairing the glute while building towards Lake Placid Ironman. My hopes are to return to South America soon.”

Check out Debbie’s Professional Profile on the Ironman Pro Series website.

UP NEXT: Lake Padden Triathlon Long Course June 22nd

Check out Debbie on Instagram and Facebook

Jonas Ecker

Jonas is an absolute joy to be around. His positive vibes truly radiate to everyone. Thankfully, even though he lives in Seattle while going to school at UW, he still makes time to come up to Bellingham to train, race, and spend time with loved ones. We are so proud that Jonas is going to the 2024 Olympics in Paris! In April, Jonas qualified for the Olympics in 2 kayak events. He and his partner, Aaron Smalls, qualified for the two-person kayak 500m sprint. Jonas also qualified for the single Kayak 1000m sprint. This has been a long time in the making. Before Olympic racing in August, Jonas will be racing ICF U23 Canoe Sprint World Championships in July.

The Cascadia Daily wrote a wonderful article about Jonas and Aaron qualifying for the 2024 Olympics.

UP NEXT: ICF U23 Canoe Sprint World Championships, July 17th

Follow Jonas on Instagram

Chris Hughes

Chris is one of our new Team Bellingham Members. He is a calculated person and racer with a big heart for triathlon, family and connecting with his community. He has a stacked season of 70.3 races. He has already raced 2 Ironman 70.3 triathlons: St. George and Victoria. In the coming months he will be racing 70.3 Coeur d’Alene, our local Lake Whatcom Triathlon, 70.3 Salem OR and 70.3 Santa Cruz. Read about Chris’s phycological experience at Ironman 70.3 in Victoria Canada.

Victoria 70.3 – We can do hard things

Braving the wet weather Ironman 70.3 Victoria had to offer.

“This is not a race report. I won’t bore you with the details of Victoria 70.3. It was cold, wet, muddy, and windy. I snagged a 4th place slot in my AG, with roughly 20 minutes off my best time here. It was a hard race in very challenging conditions. That’s all there really is to say about the race itself.

I do want to talk about personal growth through hardship. It’s the primary “why” I engage in this crazy sport.

I only registered for this race a week before it started. And the moment I did, the weather forecast got incrementally worse. And the actual weather ended up being even worse than forecasted (48 and raining).

I waffled on still coming to race and bringing my family. It wasn’t going to be fun for them. The weather was bad enough that they planned to hunker down in the hotel.

Chris’s victorious finish

On the Saturday before the race as I was grumbling and furiously refreshing the weather forecast. My son said, “Why don’t you just not do it? No one will know.”

And I knew right then that the race must be started and short of death, be finished. I was disappointed in myself that I had given my kids the impression that we quit things just because they are going to be harder than expected.

When I crossed the finish line, I didn’t rush to look at the results. I was so happy to have just survived. I walked straight from the finish to transition and put on warm clothes.

When my watch connected to the phone in my bag, I saw messages from my wife and kids rush through: “Woo hoo! You did it!” – from my son “4th place! Way to endure!” – from my wife

“You got it, dude! You didn’t quit!” (via 100 “Full House” gifs) – from my daughter.

For the first time ever at a race, I got emotional. My eyes shrink-wrapped in tears, and I just sat down in transition and absorbed the moment.

Sitting in the rain, watching people come off the bike with smiles on their faces. Starting the run into the rain and mud, I was abruptly reminded to have gratitude.

Celebrating with family at the finish.

Gratitude that I had the option to start the race. Gratitude that I finished. Gratitude that I was near the pointy end of the competition and placed higher than the year before.

As I sat there, soaked to the bone, watching others push through the same conditions, I realized that this sport is more than a test of physical endurance. It’s a proving ground for our spirit. We endure not because it is easy, but because it shapes us into who we are meant to be.

At some point, anyone in this sport has heard the quote, “You can quit, and they won’t care. But you will always know.” I’ve always loved this quote, but Victoria this year reminded me that someone besides you does care… and is watching.”

UP NEXT: Ironman 70.3 Coeur d’Alene, June 23rd

Follow Chris on Instagram


Alicia Jenkins-Browder

In the canyon with friends Nikki and Sabrina

Alicia is one of our spunky ultra trail runners on the Team. She allows us to experience what she experiences in her life. Alicia shows us what her recovery looks like, what type of training she does for these 200+ mile races, and what her actual race weeks look like (yes, sometimes she is racing for almost a week) all through her social media. She is simply an incredible human with a fantastic tenacity for physical and mental endurance. She has recently gone on a 45-mile training run through the Grand Canyon. Read about her Rim to Rim to Rim Grand Canyon Adventure which includes interactions with snow, rattlesnakes, thunder, and absolutely breath-taking views, all in a 13-hour day’s work!

UP NEXT: Tahoe 200, June 14th

Follow Alicia on Instagram 




Nikki Buurma

Running up at Canyons 25k this April

“Nikki is an amazing Physical Therapist in Lynden who always goes above and beyond for not only her patients, but also her friends and family. She has been nicknamed the “Mom” of the Bellingham Distance Project as she is always bringing the team snacks and taking care of everyone. She’s also a seasoned ultra trail runner who excels (and prefers) smooth, buttery trails, but is always down for an adventure in the more rugged terrain we have in the mountains of Whatcom County.” -Alicia Jenkins-Browder. Nikki has already raced this year and will be racing Broken Arrow Ultra trail on June 21st!!


UP NEXT: Broken Arrow Ultra Trail Race, June 21st

Follow Nikki on Instagram



Ana Sweditsh

Ana is quite the spitfire when it comes to Surfski racing. Her modest demeanor, however, should not be interpreted as a lack of confidence in her ability. She can and will finish first in most fields and continues to savor every accomplishment. Ana is a kind soul with a strong connection to Bellingham. Growing up near lake Padden made for the perfect environment to foster a passion for the water. Ana has already raced quite a bit this year and has either won the women’s race overall or has won the entire race.

Ana smashing it at Vortex #1 in Hood River, OR

UP NEXT: Bellingham Sprint Regatta, June 15th

Stay updated on Ana’s busy season on Instagram 

Wells Tanner

Wells whippin around at Race Cascadia in Hood River.

Wells is a soft spoken, hard core mt bike racer. He’s a young racer with a fire in his belly to crush his training and enjoying the people and new adventures along the way. He consistently places in the top 5 in all the races he’s at the start line for. He gets out there and takes in all types of weather and trails in all sorts of conditions, training all year round. He also isn’t afraid to rest and use that time to learn new things that don’t have to do with sport. A valuable skill that we can all learn from Wells; sport may be a huge part of our lives, but it isn’t the end all be all. Wells is always posting angelic downhill mt biking video of him ripping down the mountain. He has already raced 3 times this year.


UP NEXT: North American Enduro Cup, June 15th

Check out Wells on Instagram


Sarah Ellis

Sarah may be a triathlete but its no secret that the swim is her strength. She can and will outswim most of the field in most races. It is a joy to be around her bubbly and motivational spirit.

Sarah’s successful experience at her first open water swim race!

My First Open Water Swim Race

“June 1st marked my very first open water swim race which took place off the coast of Langley, Whidbey Island. The race is called the Whidbey Island Adventure swim. I wanted to try something new before the triathlon season kicked off so that’s exactly what I did! I knew that the water was going to be in the 50s and I didn’t think much of it until I did a Bellingham Tri Club swim in April in Lake Whatcom and got really freaked out when it felt so cold, and it said it was the same temp as the water I was going to be racing in. Thinking back though, I think the thermometer reading was off though. Anyways, I spent the next month and a half acclimating in Bellingham Bay and in Lake Whatcom without a wetsuit to get the most use out of my acclimating time. It totally worked. I get extremely nervous for start lines and I was getting butterflies for this race about a week out. The day came along, I got in and just like that I was off racing! I was quickly swimming alone. I never know if I get out swam or if I out swim others. Today, it was a mixture of both. I was leading the women in the 1.2-mile race while the lead man was 2 minutes ahead of me. I had a lot of fun and while it was cold, I wasn’t too cold at all. The weather was perfect, cloudy and warm. The water was perfect except for the current on the way back but it made for a bit more of an adventure! I was ecstatic swim a 28.28 and get first place women. Maybe I will do more swim races!! I am not sure yet.”

UP NEXT: Lake Padden Triathlon, June 22nd

Follow Sarah on Instagram


Bennett is not only one of our newest members, but he is also our youngest! Bennett is 12 years old and is absolutely shredding it every chance he gets. Whether he’s scootering around the neighborhood with his friends or racing his Mt. bike on the weekends, Bennett is always up for an adventure. He is a bright light on our Team this year and we are so glad he’s joined Team Bellingham. Chris Hughes mentioned that we should keep an eye on this kid in the coming years after Chris just barely outran him at the Running of the Green this March. Bennett is a true athlete and we have loved seeing him represent Team Bellingham every chance he gets.

Bennett is currently racing the local Whatcom World Cup Mt Bike Race Series

Keep up with Bennett on Instagram

Dale Nelsen

We haven’t met anyone with the same passion and love for running as much as Dale. He is ALWAYS getting out there. Literally almost every weekend he is either racing, pacing, or accompanying his kids on 5ks. He makes everyone around him want to run in these local races. He paces multiple marathons every year just because he loves to be around that race environment with joyful runners. Dale shares what these events are like on his social media. He not only runs though, but he also takes on our local triathlons with a true passion for endurance sports. Dale reminds us that you can still race hard and have a lot of fun while doing it. He inspires everyone around him to take on a local 5k or an International Marathon. We love Dale and his tenacity for racing all year round!!

UP NEXT: Pacing the Super-Fast Half-Marathon on June 22nd

Follow Dale on Instagram

Eric Olson

Celebrating an epic 2nd place finish at Cascadia Dirt Cup

Eric is one of our OG Team Bellingham Athlete Ambassadors. He is a professional mt bike racer and is always getting out in the community to race and volunteer his time for the love of the sport and people. He’s coaching for Galbraith Gravity for their entire race series.  Eric has a bubbly personality and lightens any room he walks into with his cheery attitude towards life. He always makes the most out of a dreary race day and knows how to lighten spirits with his truthful, yet sarcastic humor. We love having Eric on Team Bellingham, he is never shy from the next adventure on the schedule or getting to meet new people in the community.

Hear what Eric has to say about his epic racing and community involvement so far!

“The past few weeks kicked off a busy race season. So far, I’ve gotten 2nd at Cascadia Super Gravel, 3rd at XC MTB state championship, and most recently 2nd at the Cascadia Dirt Cup Enduro in Hood River. I’ve also been having an absolute blast coaching Galbraith Gravity, and we recently had a great article in the Cascadia Daily. I’m also stoked for the Whatcom World Cup starting! I’ve also been working on my interview skills with my Banana Interview Series.

UP NEXT: North American Enduro Champs June 15th

Follow Eric on Instagram 

Qua’Sil Sulkanum

Qua’Sil has already had multiple events this year and has done seriously well in each one. He is an amazing team player and plays an important role in the canoe. Qua’Sil is a quiet and modest soul, but that doesn’t limit him and his ability to absolutely do his best for himself and his boat.

Sitting in seat 9 at the racing with their Traditional War Canoe at Blodel Donovan Park.

UP NEXT: Stommish War Canoe Races June 14th

Follow Qua’Sil’s Rikkole Cree Canoe Club on Facebook for Race Updates!

Kacie Cleveland

Kacie is a bold personality who shares her bold love for sports of all kinds with anyone who is willing to get active. She is constantly putting together relay teams of all kinds with people in the community. She is an inline skater, owner of Driven Athletics, Triathlete, and so much more. She backs down to no challenge and loves to be uncomfortable, something that can all relate to as athletes. She also sure knows how to have a good time with the people she loves. We are so happy to follow along with Kacie. This year she has already put together and organized 8 full teams for Ski to Sea and 9 teams with a total of 38 people for the Sunflower Relay Marathon.

UP NEXT: Lake Padden Triathlon

Follow Kacie on Instagram

Emily and Dusty Caseria

Dust’Em are our power couple on the Team. They both are extremely kind and thoughtful individuals with a true passion for adventures of all kinds. They, quite literally, are Adventure Racers. While this might not be their focus every single year, they take on all sorts of racing, whether it be mt biking, swim-runs, duathlons, or paddle racing. They are extreme athletes in the best sense and have some of the best attitudes on the racecourse.

Check out what Emily and Dusty had to say about the local Whatcom World Cup!

“Another great night at the 2nd Whatcom World Cup for several of us ambassadors! The weather was exquisite, and the trails were just as fine👌 only one small spill for Dusty right near the end with minor scrapes. This is a great local series that lasts for several months on Wednesday evenings. Great trails to ride, all on Galbraith, with great food afterwards, and of course excellent timing provided by Pacific Multisports! Already looking forward to the next one!”


UP NEXT: Dusty will be racing Raid the Rockies, 3.5 day adventure race, starting on June 21st.

Follow Emily on Instagram

Follow Dusty on Instagram

Bobby Hill

Bobby moved to Bellingham not even a year ago, but he has really made it his own by joining the Bellingham Distance Project and becoming an Athlete Ambassador on Team Bellingham. Bobby is an avid mountain climber and trail runner who loves to combine the two as their training truly goes hand-in-hand. He is taking on quite the adventure this year as he is racing in a trail racing series called Golden Trail Series, which combines 5 races that take place all over the country. He has already raced Breakneck Point in New York. Check out his Race Recap on his Instagram!

Racing at Breakneck Point 21k

UP NEXT: Broken Arrow Skyrace 23k

Follow Bobby on Instagram


As the year goes on, we will continue to provide blog content for more inspirational and casual reading. We will continue to spotlight our athlete ambassadors racing throughout the year. Some of Team Bellingham is just getting their season started. Read about all of our ambassadors and find their social media on the Athlete Ambassador page!