Thursday, January 23, 2014


David Naelon

I feel suckpunched. My heart is heavy and saddened at the very tragic news
 that my teammate and friend, David passed away yesterday. 
The world has truly lost one of the good ones.

Last year, I spent a couple hours getting lost running with him and our teammate, Kate on the Mesa Trail and Chautauqua Park when we were at our Team Summit meeting in Colorado.

 I was in awe of how he talked of his beautiful wife, Ashley. I could just see just how much he loved her by the way he spoke of her and the stories he told us. I remember assuming they were newlyweds...and they were not! They had been together for many, many years. It was just simply a beautiful thing to see this kind of love for another emanate from him. 

I have been blessed to get to know Ashley and I can see how these two were drawn to each other. Both such kind, generous and GENUINE people. 

My heart breaks for Ashley. I know that her strong Faith in God will help her through this very difficult time. 

from the Rev3 archives, a bit about my friend, David. 
We were blessed to have you with us, even if God took you home too soon, for us.

As the Rev 3 Triathlon quickly approaches, we continue to be floored by the enthusiasm, dedication, and physical abilities of our registered athletes—and humbled by their willingness to share their inspirational stories.
This week, we had the pleasure of speaking with David Naelon, a self- described “triathlon addict” who lives with his wife and fellow athlete, Ashley, in Davidson, North Carolina. As a cancer survivor, David was drawn to the charitable objectives of the Rev 3 event. This week, we had the pleasure of speaking with David about his motivations and goals. We think you’ll find his story to be a rich source of positivity and motivation.
REV3: What made you decide to sign up for the charity challenge?
DAVID: I am a cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 1990—the day before I was supposed to leave to go to college. I was ultimately very fortunate. I had an amazing oncologist who brought the best medicines to my treatment. I went through chemotherapy for 11 months. My “victory party” celebrating the end of my treatments was on my birthday—I couldn’t think of a better present! During a recent sermon by my pastor, I realized I needed to share my story and get more involved to assist others who were suffering. That night, I came across an advertisement for REV3. When I saw it was also a fundraiser for the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research, I felt a calling to get involved.
REV3: Why did you choose the REV3 event over other cancer-related charity events?

DAVID: I love triathlons and I love college basketball. I’ve been a fan of Jimmy V’s since the national title at North Carolina State in ’83. It all just seemed to fit. A number of my family members and friends have been impacted by cancer. I view this opportunity to assist in raising money and awareness as a blessing from God to answer His call to action.
REV3: How do you plan to train for the event?
DAVID: Each year, my wife and I will compete in 8-10 triathlons of various lengths. This race fits into my training schedule very well, which made the decision to assist in fundraising and competing that much easier! Basically, my training will consist of swim -> bike -> run -> rinse -> repeat.
REV3: How did you manage to meet your fundraising goal in such a short amount of time?
DAVID: I have very generous family and friends. I reached out to everyone and anyone I knew, and encouraged them to send the request to others. Plus, many of my friends are Wachovia employees, and the Wachovia Foundation matches charitable contributions of $25.00 and more on behalf of their employees. I also encouraged all of my employed donors to check with their employers to see if they offer a similar benefit.
REV3: How long have you been competing?
DAVID: I became addicted to triathlons in 2005 after my first race in Clemson, South Carolina.
REV3: What is your favorite sport or physical activity?
DAVID: I love to cycle. Right now, I’m still basking in the glow of a wonderful ride down A1A in Broward and Palm Beach County, Florida, where I grew up. A day in the saddle is better than a day just about anywhere else!
REV3: Do you have any special dietary restrictions or eating plans to help keep you in shape?
DAVID: I just try to be smart. I’m not a competitive triathlete—I’m a middle-of-the-pack age grouper who just loves to race. I was very fortunate to meet some experienced coaches early on in my training career who helped me learn about nutrition. Basically, I just believe in “calories in, calories out.” When I get heavy, I know I ate more than I burned and it’s time for some discipline. I do stay away from fast foods. Creating healthy, tasty meals for my wife and I is something I really enjoy.
REV3: What are your long-term fitness goals?
DAVID: In addition to my cancer history, I have a family history of heart disease and diabetes. These factors really guide my goals all year long. I want to stay fit and healthy to spend as many days with my wife as possible.
REV3: What advice would you give to someone who is considering entering a competitive event?
DAVID: Just sign up! Nothing motivates more than a date on the calendar. Find others who are competing in similar events and train with them. Most people are just out there to enjoy the day and have fun. Don’t take your times too seriously. Reap the health benefits and make some new friends!
REV3: What is the most rewarding aspect of competing?
DAVID: At a race in Georgia last year, I was having a miserable run, so I talked to everyone. Ultimately, I ended up walking/running with a young guy who was very overweight and struggling to get to the finish line. He and I prayed together on the course. So I’d say the rewards are the people you meet and influence, and who influence you. It’s having a passion that allows you to share your faith and help others.
REV3: What is the most challenging aspect?
DAVID: Getting up at 4:30 AM and getting on the trainer when you can’t ride outside because it’s 30 degrees and raining.
“I came across an advertisement for REV3. When I saw it was also a fundraiser for the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research, I felt a calling to get involved.”
-David Naelon (self-described “triathlon addict” and cancer survivor)


Maggie said...

Beautiful tribute to an amazing man. There are no words.

Carolina John said...

it's an unbearable burden that Ashley is faced with right now. I know the circumstances were freakish and unexpected, but a tragedy like this is just heartbreaking. So sorry for the loss of your friend.

Chris said...

Thank you so much for posting this Jen. He was an amazing guy.

ajh said...

I"m very sorry to hear this about your friend. Take care.

Heather-O said...

Jen, Thanks for sharing this with his interview. I never saw that before. What a guy! I really regret not getting to know him better! Hugs to you! XO