Ryan Sutter is many things to many people.
To University of Colorado football fans, Ryan Sutter is the All-Big 12 safety who led the team in tackles as a junior. To New York Jets fans, Sutter is the guy who was hurt on the first play of his NFL career and never saw the field again. To reality-show viewers, he's Trista's choice on "The Bachelorette" and got married and actually lived happily ever after. To firefighters in Vail, Colo., he's a co-worker. To competitors in endurance sporting events, he's a rival. And to young adults battling cancer, Ryan Sutter is a hero.
The former football player-turned firefighter-turned reality star helped raise $100,000 last year for First Descents, a program that helps children with cancer go on outdoor adventures like kayaking and rock climbing. Sutter did so by competing in 10 endurance sporting events, including a 24-hour bike race, the New York City Marathon and the Ironman triathlon in Hawaii. And he does this all while continuing work as a firefighter and caring for the two young children he has with wife, and former Bachelorette contestant, Trista Rehn.
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He will be honored this weekend as Competitor Magazine's Celebrity Athlete of the Year at the Endurance LIVE Awards Gala in San Diego.
As the San Diego Union-Tribune details, Sutter first tried his hand at the long-distance events after he and Trista were married in a televised wedding that cost over $4 million. Despite having never competed in the sport, Sutter was given an entry into the Ironman triathlon because of his celebrity status, a move which angered some people who train for years in order to qualify.
Over time, he's won over the community, finishing in the top 10 percent in various competitions including a 3-hour, 20-minute time at the NYC Marathon and crossing the line 67th out of 1,330 people at a 100-mile bike race. In doing so, Sutter has earned praise from respected people in the sport. "He's the real deal," top triathlon coach Paul Huddle said to the newspaper. "He's legitimate."
In more ways than one, it seems.
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