Exceeding Expectations: Beating the Clock and the Odds


Cherie Gruenfeld is a rockstar.

Our resident butt-kicker, personal hero, and 10-time age group world champion, will be competing in this weekend’s Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii  (by the way, that’s a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run). Dedication? Commitment? Insanity? A little of all three, probably, but at the center of it all is her goal-oriented approach to life.

And although her athletic chops are extremely impressive, that goal-oriented approach helps her inspire others to transcend their circumstances. When she’s not training, she spends her time profoundly impacting the lives of at-risk kids in an inner city population through her foundation, Exceeding Expectations.

Her goal?  Cherie strives to offer at-risk youths the opportunity to live a healthy, goal-driven lifestyle through participation in sprint triathlons! Exceeding Expectations works with these kids to replace negative influences with positive role models and teaches discipline by setting measurable goals and demonstrating the hard work it takes to achieve them.

Exceeding Expectations is also passionate about seeing to it that these kids get as much education as they want, and if the older ones have college aspirations, to help cover the costs of tuition and books.

How successful is Cherie’s foundation? Marlene recently graduated high school and junior college (at the same time!) as class salutatorian with top honors. Josh has become a talented violinist and was chosen to be one of the youngest members of the San Bernardino School District’s Honor Orchestra. He has also been profiled in USA Triathlon magazine. Nik graduated high school with a 4.0 and a string of special honors. He was accepted at UC San Diego but the costs are more than the family could handle, so now he has an EE scholarship to help with tuition.

Cherie believes that anyone — despite their current circumstances — can be inspired to exceed the expectations of those around them, whether it’s a 68-year-old athlete vying for her 11th World Championship in one of the world’s most grueling events, or students who are willing to set goals and achieve something special, all while inspiring themselves to be great in every facet of their lives.

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