Spoken like a true Ironman.
Brigitte Setness is such an Ironman.
Her name has come seemingly out of nowhere in the South Dakota triathlon landscape this season with some solid showings at nearly all of the SDTA-sanctioned races, helping her earn enough points to put her in second place and quite close to first-place leaderboard holder Kathy Grady in the SDTA standings.
What many people didn’t know before Setness dipped her toes in the water at the first race in Brookings is that she was already a stud triathlete. This girl is no rookie to the sport. She completed her first Ironman in Couer d’Alene in 2013 and now has two IM completions under her belt with her completion of IM Canada this past Sunday.
Furthermore, this girl has some legs. To date, Setness has put 39 marathons in 27 states and 2 countries on her running shoes and aspires to complete 50 marathons in 50 states.
Setness’s aspirations began young like many an Ironman. She remembers seeing a triathlon–be it Kona or something like it–on the television as she lounged on her parents’ couch as a kid, and she consciously thought to herself, “I could do that someday.”
And then she did.
Setness did not have a youth triathlon career. The furthest she ran was the 300 meter hurdle event in high school track. Then after running a few times with a friend during summer break while in college, Setness was encouraged to try out for the college cross country team. So she did.
Fast forward a few years, and Setness tried her first marathon after a friend, whom she’d been logging miles with as he trained for the Fargo event, signed her up. Clearly she fell in love. On the first race she saw a “50-races-in-50-states” t-shirt and thought that sounded like a pretty cool goal. So she put it on a bucket list and apparently never looked back.
Move ahead a couple more years, and Setness found herself waiting tables in Mitchell near her hometown of Stickney. A group of visiting hunters commented on how fit she looked and asked if she ran. Unbeknownst to her, among the hunters was Setness’s future Ironman coach. Setness found out one of the hunters specialized in coaching triathlon, so she got his name and number and tucked it away for future safe keeping.
And then once again, a few years later, Setness found herself in the perfect season of life to try this whole triathlon thing out. In 2008 she tackled the Wall Lake sprint . . . and hated it. Stiff wind forced race organizers to change the swim to a shore swim which essentially pushed athletes to the beach. The same wind wreaked havoc on this rookie with her hybrid bike, and she gutted out the run. She completed two other triathlons that summer and basically put the sport behind her, considering it fun but done.
In 2012 Setness once again felt the itch to cross something off the bucket list, so she contacted the aforementioned coach and told him that this time of life allowed her the best opportunity to train. She began to look for an event and ended up selecting Couer d’Alane for the following June. She trained hard, and when her coach told her she really needed some kind of a warm-up race to practice, she hesitated, remembering that unpleasant first experience. Setness signed up for the Omaha Women’s Tri, and after taking a few breaths on the beach to calm herself down after the gun had gone off, she ended up finishing 10th overall. Yes, this girl has game.
Setness has set no limits on herself. Her completion of two Ironman events clearly indicates this along with her aspirations to continue to fulfill the dream of joining the 50-in-50 club.
Furthermore, according to Setness, she has the best support staff. “I couldn’t do this without my husband’s support,” Setness states.
We’re keeping our eye on you, Brigitte. We’re pretty certain that you’re going to continue to do some pretty amazing things and inspire many people along the way.