WINNIPEG, MANITOBA (December 16, 2015): Today, MPG is excited to announce a long-term collaboration with Emmy award-winning triple-threat Julianne Hough. Coinciding with MPG’s growing visibility in North America, this partnership marks a significant milestone as the brand continues to prevail in fusing fashion with function.

For MPG, the choice of Julianne Hough for this special collaboration is a direct extension of their core philosophy: My Performance, My Lifestyle. “Julianne Hough is the epitome of MPG’s core customer. Her healthy, fast-paced lifestyle requires seamless transitioning from rehearsal to social events to performances and everywhere in between. Our collections allow active individuals like Julianne to pursuit athletic and artistic excellence without sacrificing fashion for function,” says Ash Modha, CEO of MPG.

Hough, who became a household name as a two-time professional champion on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” currently appears as a judge on the hit series and will be seen next in the feature film “Dirty Grandpa” opposite Robert De Niro and Zac Efron and will star in the FOX Television’s “Grease: Live” in January. “MPG has established strong roots in the dance and performance community and I love the fact that their designs are fashionable and use the latest state-of-the-art fabrications,” says Hough. “I gravitate towards pieces that are versatile enough to easily transition from active to ready-to-wear, so this brand is a perfect match for me.”

The collaboration will be introduced with 12 favorite styles curated and selected by Julianne from the Spring/Summer 2016 collection and future plans include a capsule collection designed by Julianne. Bridging the gap between performance and function, MPG’s latest collections marry trend worthy style with their signature emphasis on 4-way stretch, moisture wicking, breathability and quick-dry mesh ventilation to enhance ultimate comfort and maximum execution. Also, the company’s barrier technology uses seam sealed, anti-pilling and barrier yarn to ensure the highest waterproof protection in its fabric.

MPG’s online shop will offer the latest designs, including Hough’s curated selections, beginning in early February. The online destination offers a variety of pieces that are selected to build a fashionable edge to meet active lifestyles while remaining on-trend and stylish. To shop MPG, visit mpgsport.com and at select retailers worldwide.

The deal with MPG was brokered by Creative Artists Agency (CAA) on behalf of its client Hough.

For PR & Marketing Inquiries contact pr@mpgsport.com

For Sales Inquiries contact orders@mpgsport.com


People Magazine Online

Women’s Wear Daily


Time to sweat? Choosing the right sports bra can make or break your workout. With so many options out there it’s difficult to decide. To find the right sports bra for you, consider this:

Different activities require different support. Full support is perfect for your high intensity bootcamp class while light support is most comfortable for your restorative Hatha Yoga class.

When buying a sports bra the best ones mold to your body, breathe, and offer you a ‘no hassle – get right down to your workout’ quality.

You can have it all! Never sacrifice the right support for style and/or comfort.

To make shopping for the right sports bra a little easier we’ve narrowed down our fall favourites to these three. Depending on your mood, style and your favourite activity you’ll quickly decide which one works best for you.


Workout feeling confident with the right support today:


Not your average sports bra, MPG’s Elliptical hooded sports bra turns convention on its head by offering a removable hood on this high quality stylish undergarment. The genius of it all lies in its innate ability to be layered under other tops for a bit of added coverage when a chill is in the air. The bra features removable cups, a ponytail hole in the hood and 4 rows of stabilizing elastic at the back for increased comfort and fit. Make a statement with the hood up or zip it off and wear this fashion forward piece with your favourite running shorts to go that extra mile! This sports bra has four-way stretch and is breathable, moisture wicking, and quick drying to keep up with you.



MPG’s Shape Up sports bra has been specially designed to provide maximum smooth comfort by eliminating the need for seams. Using two layers of Seamless Infinity 360 fabric it’s doubled up on support while giving you more freedom to move. Triangular front ruche detailing adds increased bust definition while the convertible strap allows for personal customization. The Shape Up seamless double layer bra offers maximum comfort with the added bonus of being moisture-wicking, quick drying and breathable.



MPG’s Assert sports bra provides medium ventilated support using performance Jersey and mesh for you to become one with your practice. Feel supported from your first downward dog to your final savasana in this comfortable yoga bra, ideal for long vinyasa sequences and other high intensity activities. This sports bra gives you the soft second skin feel you want and the support you deserve. For serious sweat, this bra breathable and quick drying. The tranquil mesh insert provides extra ventilation to stay cool, calm and collected while its inherent four-way stretch enables you to move freely in any direction.



MPG Fall 15 Collection

Fall 15 Campaign video compilation

Visit Our Youtube Channel for more videos of our Fall 15 Messengers



Women’s Fall 15 Collection

Each season presents the MPG design team with a unique opportunity to create a collection that manages to encompass both the latest developments in activewear technology and design garments that echo and reflect the trends and styles found on runways in fashion capitals around the world. The MPG Fall 2015 Collection is no different.


(Click here to Shop Technology)

Aero-Flow: Built-in air management systems provide ventilation when the temperature rises. Fashionable yet practical engineered mesh ventilation panels help you stay cooler and work out longer, allowing you to take your performance to the next level.

Metamorph: Versatile and transitional garments that adapt to the individual on the go with reversible options that combine two looks into one – for your active performance or your everyday lifestyle.

Performance Wool: Engineered blended wool fabrics provide lightweight insulation and performance.

Fusion Remix: Offering the best of both worlds, we have blended knit and woven fabrics into one garment, giving the wearer the structure and element protection of a technical woven fabric and the 4-way stretch and comfort of an active knit fabrication. These pieces are highly versatile, suitable for trans-seasonal wear and offer wind protection as the temperature cools this season.



Men’s Collection

Our Men’s 2015 Collection focuses on performance-oriented pieces, infused with stylistic details and always keeping functionality a top priority. The colour palette is a combination of a perennially favourite men’s hues punched up with bright accents. Military green and shades of grey neutrals pair brilliantly with pops of orange and blue velocity. Silhouettes have been refined to be slimmer and streamlined, echoing prevalent market trends, and provide a tailored approach to men’s active. Slim sweat-pant jogger styles continue to dominate the active and casual men’s wear market and are well represented in MPG’s Men’s Fall 2015 Collection.


Spring 2015 Swim Capsule

The capsule marks MPG’s inaugural entry to the active swim market yet continues the brand’s continuing design philosophy of fusing fashion and performance. The garments herein are not only meant to be worn in the water but can be used during land workouts as well, making them ideal for triathlons, summer sports, beach runs and other water sports/activities. The designs offer 50+ UV protection and feature ventilation and high visibility accents.

Mesh inserts and panels are dramatically juxtaposed against an haute-couture lace pattern that invokes a touch of edginess slamming into classical sensibilities. The resulting pieces are unlike anything ever before seen in the swimwear market segment.


Cutter one-piece swimsuit.


Paradise bikini top and Speedie boy short.


Dune amphibious sports top.


Speedie boy short.

Ripple detail

Ripple bikini bottom.

Paradise front detail

Paradise bikini top detail.


Hybrid amphibious bottom detail.


Cutter front detail

Cutter one-piece swimsuit detail.

Beachie back detail

Beachie tank detail.


MPG Messenger and American Ballet Theatre principal dancer, Isabella Boylston.

Since it was first launched in Fall 2013, our designers have continued to refine and find new technologies and features to ensure the garments found in our COMMUTER CAPSULE remain at the forefront of fashion forward styling but also provide fully functional attributes such as reflectivity, ventilation for heat management, moisture wicking, 4-way stretch, breathability and element resistance.

Flippable cuffs, hems and pocket flaps cleverly obscure reflective accents allowing each to be deployed when the sun sets and light conditions become less than ideal while ventilation details have also been concealed under zippered keyholes.

Subtlety is key here, conveyed by the capsule’s decidedly subdued and restrained colour palette consisting of tarmac, sand dune, black and military green hues.

For the active woman on the go who might walk or cycle to work, the MPG Spring 2015 Commuter Capsule strikes a brilliant balance between professional aesthetics and performance functionality.


Tempest Front Tempest Rear Tempest Detail


Trench Front Trench Rear Trench Detail 2


Metro Front Metro Rear Metro Detail


Urban Front Urban Rear Urban Detail


Route Front Route Rear Route Detail



Taking our ‘My Performance, My Lifestyle’ philosophy to the next level, the Spring 2015 ‘I am, We are’ campaign expresses the MPG ethos in a simple statement to reflect the core values of our brand as expressed by our Messengers.

Each individual who appears in our editorial videos and images is on a personal journey, a relentless pursuit of athletic and artistic excellence for which there is no discernible zenith: Every accomplishment is a mere stepping stone to the next pinnacle to be reached, the next record to be broken. Resting on one’s laurels is never an option.

Along that path, the MPG apparel they wear not only forms a part of their athletic odyssey but allows them to communicate their personal aesthetic, character and philosophy. When each Messenger states,
‘I am MPG’ he/she is broadcasting to the world: Athletic performance is my life, MPG allows me to share myself.
The ‘We Are’ aspect of the campaign extends the message of the Messengers to every person in pursuit of the same goals.

Scroll down to meet our newest Messengers for the season, as well as some returning familiar faces:


Principal Dancer, American Ballet Theatre

Born in Sun Valley, Idaho, Isabella Boylston began dancing at the age of three. While training at the Academy of Colorado Ballet, she won the gold medal in 2001 at the Youth America Grand Prix Finals in New York City. In 2002, she began training at the Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida,
on a full scholarship.
Isabella joined the ABT Studio Company in 2005, the main Company as an apprentice in May 2006 and the corps de ballet in March 2007. She was promoted to Soloist in June 2011 and to Principal Dancer in August 2014.





Click here to see Isabella’s MPG Spring 2015 video.


Team USA Triathlete

Originally a swimmer, Michelle was first introduced to triathlon at the age of 12, and managed to take home 3rd in her age group on practically no training. By age 14, she had won the women’s overall and was placing with the top men. Although her passion for triathlon continued to grow, it ultimately came in a close second to swimming, which is why she decided
to swim in college for the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign, and continue to race triathlons in the summer.
As a swimmer and triathlete, Michelle raced well for the University of Illinois and was able to compete on the school’s Big Ten championship team. Unfortunately, after a lackluster performance at the Age Group Triathlon National Championships in 2011, her training and health went into decline. After quite a few tests, the team doctor discovered she had a birth defect in her heart that would require surgery. In January 2012, she underwent a catheter ablation procedure to mend her heart.
In spring of 2013, just over a year post surgery, she captured the Collegiate National Championship title, helping the team win the overall title as well. Shortly thereafter, she started racing as a professional and joined the national development program for the Rio 2016 Olympics.





Click here to see Michelle’s MPG Spring 2015 video.


Team USA Triathlete

Born and raised in South Florida playing soccer, baseball, surfing and running, Sean Jefferson began to concentrate on Cross Country and Track in high school before receiving a full scholarship to compete at Indiana University in Cross Country and Track where, as a sophomore, he was a Cross Country All American finishing 19th at the NCAA championships. By the time he finished college, he was a 6 time All American in Cross Country and Track.
After graduating from Indiana University, he signed a professional running contract with Nike and moved to Eugene, Oregon to train and race for the Oregon Track Club Elite.
In 2009, upon expiration of his Nike contract, he moved back to Palm Beach Gardens, FL to resume my running training. After sustaining an injury, Sean began swimming and cycling as cross training and decided to compete in a triathlon for fun and placed 4th in his first sprint triathlon. Since then, he has been hooked on the sport and began to increase his training, focusing on competing at the USAT Age Group Nationals, where he won his age group and finished 2nd overall. He ended his first season of competition with a 2nd place finish at the Toyota US Open in Dallas Texas with a run split of 31:02 that was the 2nd fastest split recorded out of the entire field, which included an international field and some of the top triathletes in the world.
His goal is to make the US Olympic team in Rio 2016.





Click here to see Sean’s MPG Spring 2015 video.


The Sexy Vegan, Personal Trainer

Ella has been a fitness and wellness professional for 12 years, with her certifications in Personal Training from the National Academy of Sports Medicine and Wellness Coaching from the University of Miami. She specializes in functional, bodyweight, and cross-training, as well as muay thai kickboxing. Ella obtained her Masters Degree in Social Work to gain additional skills in counseling clients, and is currently working toward her Doctorate in Holistic Sports Nutrition.

As a fitness competitor, Ella won the FAME Fitness World Championship in the bikini category, and took second place in the fitness and fitness model categories. In March 2013, she created her brand, Sexy Fit Vegan®. On her website, sexyfitvegan.com, she educates, motivates, and inspires people to get in shape from the inside out by training hard and eating a plant-based diet.

Ella’s driving force is her desire to empower people all over the world to get fit, be healthy, and feel sexy while keeping true to values of fitness, compassion, and conscious living.






Yoga Instructor and Creator of B.Tru Yoga

Britta Trubridge (B.A. Psychology), creator of B. Tru Yoga™ and the TruBlue Foundation, is a 500h RYT of the Sivananda Vedanta School, a 300h certified Ayurvedic Counselor and a Reiki Healer with specialties in acupressure, crystal and chakra therapies. Britta is also an AIDA3 star free diver, is the yoga specialist for the elite Vertical Blue free diving school and teaches a hatha blend of Sivananda-style, Kundalini and Ashtanga yogas laced with energy healing techniques, internal flexibility maneuvers and pranayama. Her synergistic work in combining yoga, freediving and energy healing has allowed for a beautiful infusion of the more subtle aspects of yoga into a well-rounded physical and spiritual practice.

Britta currently holds Caribbean Yoga Retreats Fall through Spring, European Workshops and Retreats in the summer and offers Ayurvedic Consultations year round.

Spring 2015 marks Britta’s second appearance in an MPG campaign.





Click here to see Britta’s MPG Spring 2015 video.



Craig Ramsay’s versatile background — as a former ballet dancer, hockey player, fitness model, broadway actor and trained contortionist — makes him one the most sought after fitness experts in the business. Craig’s first foray into television was Bravo’s Thintervention, and he has been engaging and charming audiences ever since. Craig’s latest book “Anatomy of Stretching” has reached international success as one of the most thorough, informative and practical stretching books on the market. The success of his online series “5 minute workout anywhere” on ulive.com and his popular blog “Fit and Fabulous” has made him an internationally recognized wellness guru with a mission to transform as many lives with his motivation to move messages.

Craig’s style of transformation has been noted to be the most unique yet effective way of promoting health and self care. With so many informative and inventive methods to entertain and empower, be sure to check out his websites.

Spring 2015 marks Craig’s second appearance in an MPG campaign.






Last week, MPG had the distinct pleasure, and honour, of being invited to participate in a very special event at the Hearst Publishing headquarters in New York City, specifically at their fitness center called theClub. As part of their Member Appreciation Week, the organizers included a Fitness Fashion Expo wherein leading brands in the activewear market segment were called upon to showcase and highlight their latest collections. As a label leading the forefront of fashion-infused, technically advanced apparel, we jumped at the opportunity to share MPG with the staff and editors at some of the most celebrated magazines in North America including Esquire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE and Marie Claire.
Needless to say, the fitness team at theClub loved what MPG has to offer and shared some great images of them working out in our gear. Scroll down to take a look:

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 11.22.04 AM

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 11.22.19 AM

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 11.22.34 AM

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 11.22.52 AM

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 11.23.04 AM

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 11.23.16 AM

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 11.23.30 AM

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 11.23.42 AM

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 11.24.00 AM

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 11.24.14 AM

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 11.24.28 AM

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 11.24.38 AM


Kish Modha: Retirement

Former VP of Administration and Human Resources at Mondetta Clothing, Kish Modha, has recently announced his retirement from the company though he will retain his role as President and Chairman of the Mondetta Charity Foundation, which he founded in 2006.


As uncle to original partners, Ash and Prashant Modha, Kish was an early, and ardent, supporter of his nephews’ entrepreneurial spirit and could be relied upon to lend a vehicle, make loans/investments or provide guidance the young fellows, and their two friends Raj and Amit Bahl, so direly needed to make a go of the business they’d started. Plus, given his years of experience as a professional photographer, he was also able to ensure their first forays into editorial photography had the right look and feel the company wished to create.

Originally from Uganda, Kish, his wife, Divya, and the rest of his family was expelled from the only land they had ever called home. Prior to the dramatic events of 1972 under then dictator, Idi Amin, Kish had recently begun his career as a national parks game warden at Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda having realized his life-long dream of working with the animals he so dearly loved as a child. Although leaving East Africa was difficult, Kish embraced the challenge and ventured West as a humanitarian refugee eventually settling on the US Eastern Seaboard.

Those first few years were difficult, to say the least: Working odd jobs to make ends meet, he and Divya were suddenly thrust into a new world drastically different from their home. But they endured and, in 1975, decided to travel north to Canada where other family members had already settled. Upon arriving in Winnipeg, Kish was offered an opportunity to turn what was once a passionate hobby, photography, into a profession by opening a photo studio in the northern community of Thompson, MB where, against all odds, he found success as a small business owner.


Several years later, he and Divya would return to Winnipeg where they would eventually open another three photography studio outlets, all of which flourished until the dawn of the digital age eventually forced Kish to shutter his last studio in 2005. Coincidentally at that time, Mondetta’s previous general manager was compelled to leave his position due to health reasons which allowed Kish to seamlessly transition to that role, a post that would ultimately become, as aforementioned, Vice President of Administration and Human Resources.

These days, Kish’s enduring passion remains the MCF, the achievements of which have been nothing short of remarkable. In Kampala, Uganda, the MCF has adopted a primary school in one of the city’s largest slums, Kamwokya Primary School. There, the MCF has made vast improvements to the kitchen, installed classroom partitions, constructed a play structure on the campus and, at present, is building an extra wing to provide additional classrooms for a rapidly expanding student body. In neighbouring Kenya, the MCF provides assistance to an orphanage in Lamu that currently tends to and cares for 52 children ranging in age from 1 month to 3 years old.

MCF Kish Picture

Locally, Kish continues to remain active across a wide variety of voluntary and philanthropic pursuits and was awarded the ‘Humanitarian of the Year Award’ by the Indo-Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the ‘Unsung Hero’ award by the India Association of Manitoba in recognition of his efforts to tirelessly improve the lives of others.


Always affable and all too eager to offer a warm greeting to every member on our staff, Kish will be missed at the office. But of course, we wish him the very best as he embarks upon the next chapter of his life and realize that our loss will be to the benefit of both the local and international community.

Good luck, Kish!


by Sadie Nardini, founder of Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga, author of the 21-Day Yoga Body (Random House) and MPG Ambassador

As someone who has lost 40 pounds doing yoga, and also created the exact style of yoga, Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga that often gives yogis more weight loss and fitness results a—than other yoga styles including a lean, toned body.

As an a anatomy and yoga movement expert, who travels the world at the top levels, I designed CSV Yoga to do a few things that are unique and, I feel, make it a more targeted approach when you want to optimize your body composition and get your Zen on too:

*Activates your Deep Core Body Muscle Meridian: a line of muscles that spark more calorie burn and usage during the yoga session.

*Stimulates more heat, better digestion and better detoxification.

*Builds more comprehensive lean muscle mass, so you burn more fat and calories, even while you sleep!

*Is anatomically optimal so you can move more strongly without as much risk of strain or injury.

Yes, yoga can be one of the worst ways to lose weight, but it can also be one of the best. It all depends on the type you choose.

However, though this yoga style will trim and tone you, I advocate that a smaller number on the scale is not always better, nor healthier. Fit is the new skinny! . I happen to be built like a telephone pole, but Iʼve been 15 pounds lighter than this, and I didnʼt look well. I invite students to become fit and strong and toned–and at a proper weight for their frame, juicy to beanpole, and everything in-between. This is always a part of any discussion about yoga as a tool for inner and outer physical fitness.

I am also not just about the superficial body and am interested in how to stimulate all our systems to get more circulation, nerve flow, lymph cleaning, anti-aging, immunity and healing. And, I’m definitely proponent of a physically-based practice that leads students into other life lessons as they move.

Thatʼs why if you watch my latest Yoga for Weight Loss, or any, video of mine, or sit in a room with me in person, youʼll always hear a full spectrum of benefits you can receive from the time youʼve joined me, from calorie burn and weight loss to weight maintenance and whole body tone, but thatʼs not all.

I also mention that if you need to lose weight, then you can do it with this style. If you donʼt, thereʼs always “weight” to drop on other levels–stress, tension, old constrictive stories, toxins and anything else blocking you from being in your inherent state of healthy vitality and inner balance.

And, by the way, when I began yoga, I came for the workout, and I left before savasana. I wanted my body to look like the yoga body. Period. I would no more have meditated or read the Sutras than the man in the moon.

Of course, as I became more strong in my body, and transformed it, I also became more healthy, happy, confident, and calm. I started with a deep concern about my outer shape, and progressed into a profound interest in my own well-being and living the other beyond-backfat principles of yoga.



And yes, I learned to meditate, and (usually) like it.

The physical gateway got me into yoga. Then yoga seeped in, and here I am today, teaching millions of people about the whole enlightening, empowering, transformative enchilada that a Hatha yoga practice offers them.

If you peruse my over 300 free videos on YouTube, youʼll see all sorts of topics, from how to breathe more deeply, to insomnia, quick meditations, power smoothies for energy, the meaning of OM, Core Strength, and–yep–weight loss.
I hear from virtual viewers all the time that they never thought of trying yoga until they found a video they needed for some issue or ailment, like dropping some unwanted pounds or de-stressing.

I havenʼt covered every doorway in, but I full well know that some people are attracted through the body. And–why the hell not?

In my opinion, to try any fitness program, yoga or otherwise, for the sole purpose of losing weight, in a country whose obesity and diet-related illnesses are skyrocketing, is something we should all encourage.

If you are seeking a powerful weight loss routine that has additional benefits, then yoga can be a perfect fit!

Just the act of coming to the mat, whatever oneʼs intention, shows a spark of self- nourishment, a seed of self-esteem and the root of courage that we as teachers have committed to help grow, whatever the surface desire might seem at first.

Not to mention that being sick and depressed, too-overweight and out-of-balance are some of the first obstacles that we as practitioners must aim to improve if we want to be able to optimally focus on the deeper layers of our being.

Itʼs not always possible, but, when it is under oneʼs control, when oneʼs habits are causing dukkha, or suffering, anxiety and stress on the system, then it is quite appropriate to target those areas, and shift them into more sukha, or ease in the body, mind, and heart—outside and in.

Here’s how!:

Try a 10-minute Yoga for Weight Loss video practice with me that gives you the benefits of 20 minutes of most yoga in just 10!

Or my 20-Minute Yoga for Fatburning & Weight-loss Yoga Sequence with 3 million views and counting!


By Colin O’Brady

Five years ago today I was on a beach in Thailand when disaster struck and my life was forever changed. Would I ever walk again?

Growing up I always dreamed of traveling around the world. Through high school and college I worked every summer painting houses so that when I graduated from college I could take a year to travel around the world. It was 2007 and I headed off on what was to be an epic adventure of wandering and self-exploration. My budget allowed only the basics; peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cheap hostels, and hitchhiking to save on bus fare. The first few legs of my trip took me to Hawaii, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, Malaysia, and then, five months into the trip came Thailand…

David and I watching the sunset go down on that fateful night. Little did we know at the time, life was about to change forever.

I traveled alone before I hit Thailand. My childhood friend, David Boyer, had been traveling in Southeast Asia, and so we decided to meet up for a couple weeks of fun together. After experiencing the hustle and bustle of Bangkok for a few days, we decided to head for the more relaxed and pristine island of Koh Tao.

We’d been on the island for a few days, and on the fateful night of January 14th, 2008 we were having dinner with some fellow travelers at a beachside restaurant. Each night on the island we had watched the Thai people fire dance and entice the travelers to play various fire-fueled games on the beach. Hindsight is 20/20, of course, and in retrospect I would have never made the same decision, but with fire dancing being commonplace, I thought nothing of it when the restaurant staff set up a 20 foot long flaming jump rope, soaked in kerosene and set a blaze to entertain their patrons. I followed the crowd of intrigued travelers as we all tried our hands at jumping this flaming rope.

Lying in bed in Koh Samui, David in the background keeping a watchful eye on me

Lying in bed in Koh Samui, David in the background keeping a watchful eye on me

One second I was skipping rope, carefree as a kid on a summer day, and in an instant I was face down on the sand engulfed in flames to my neck. I felt the burning of fire all over my body, and in a moment of pure instinct and adrenaline, I picked myself up and ran full speed into the ocean extinguishing the flames. Still not quite comprehending what had just happened, I made my way back to the sandy beach. Even though the flames had been extinguished the burning sensation seemed to be growing in intensity. As I stepped out of the water I looked down for the first time and I saw the damage. Charred and dead skin hung off of my legs as the salt water dripped down my unrecognizably bloody limbs.

“David, I’m going into shock…help…please do something!”

David’s first instinct was to get some ice, but with nearly every inch of both legs and feet burned, we were well beyond the point of ice being of any use. A Thai man from the restaurant appeared on a motorcycle and told both David and I to get on. Gingerly, David lifted me up on the bike, and wrapped my bleeding legs around the driver’s waist. David sat behind me and the motorcycle drove us down a bumpy dirt path. I was assuming he was taking us to the hospital, but when we arrived ten excruciating minutes later in front of a small hut I was not so sure. It turned out there was no “hospital” on the entire island, and this small nursing station was the closest thing Koh Tao had. They carried me inside and laid me on a table to assess the damage.

My face says it all. Pure pain each day as they rewrapped my legs in new bandages.

My face says it all. Pure pain each day as they rewrapped my legs in new bandages.

I was barefoot and just wearing board shorts and a tee shirt when the flames engulfed me. Not only were my legs fried, but also the synthetic material of my clothes was melted as well. The Thai nurse reached for a pair of scissors to cut the fabric off of me. As the cuts were made David and the nurses braced themselves. They expected that my entire body from the neck down looked just as bad as my legs. As the clothes came off the first look of hope registered on David’s face. My legs were in bad shape, and my right hand was burned, but the rest of my body had somehow been spared.

As I’ve relived the memory, the best assessment I can make is that I tripped on the rope while I was jumping and as a result the rope got wrapped around my legs and feet. The rope had been soaked in kerosene to then be lit on fire, and the impact of my body sprayed the excess kerosene all over me from head to toe. I grabbed the rope with my right hand to free myself, which explains the burns on my hand. People who saw the accident confirm that when I was running toward the ocean I seemed to be engulfed in flames up to my neck. However because of my haste in getting to the water, my torso was spared from burning, and as a result my life was saved. Had the water been even a few more seconds away, or my shirt burned through the statistics show that 50-75% burns to the body in a developing country have an extremely high mortality rate due to infection. As it was I suffered what they call “deep mid-dermal second degree” burns to 22% of my body, primarily on my legs and feet. My left foot suffered 3rd degree burns.

The small nursing station on Koh Tao had only enough resources to bandage me up, keep me alive overnight and get me ready for a transfer to the hospital on Koh Samui, a neighboring island two hours away by boat. Unfortunately, they informed us that the next boat did not leave for 12 hours and that we had no choice but to wait. Thankfully they had penicillin and morphine to get me through the night. I was scared beyond belief as we awaited the boat. Even though David must have been scared out of his mind himself, he never showed any sign of weakness. Instead he did everything he possibly could to get me through the ordeal, including holding me in his arms that first night as I writhed in pain and fear. I am forever grateful for the bravery of my dear friend.

Riding in the tiny medical airplane. Only enough room for me, the doctor, my Mom and the pilot.

Riding in the tiny medical airplane. Only enough room for me, the doctor, my Mom and the pilot.

The next morning, with both legs bandaged from my toes to my hips, I was carried into the back of a pickup truck, and then loaded onto the boat headed for Koh Samui. This was not a special medical boat, it was just the normal transfer boat full of everyday passengers. We knew my situation was critical, but having no context for the seriousness of burn accidents, we did not realize that when I checked into that hospital in Samui, I would be living out of a hospital room without the use of my legs for the next month.

Although the Koh Samui hospital had much more infrastructure than the nursing station in Koh Tao, it was quite honestly not sufficiently equipped for handling this serious of an injury. The hospital informed us that they primarily deal with immediate care for scuba dive accidents on the island and injuries related to motorcycle accidents. In the first week I was there, I was put fully under for a procedure conducted eight times so they could scrub and treat the wounds. Each time I woke up in the intensive care unit, there was a cat running around my bed. The pain and medicine kept me from thinking clearly, and I imagined that I was getting proper care.

My mother arrived on the fifth day and brought a much needed maternal fresh perspective. She immediately saw that while the hospital team had kept me alive, I was spiraling downward. She surveyed all of the available options and although I could not fly internationally due to my condition, they figured I could fly to an international hospital in Bangkok. It took days of fighting with the insurance companies but she finally won my release and I was transferred via a medical aircraft to the Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok.

Finally things began to look up. The standard of healthcare at the Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok was as good, if not better than any western hospital. I had my own room, the doctors were highly trained, and my Mom was allowed to sleep beside me in a cot as I lay there and recovered.

Making good on my pledge, I asked the hospital for some weights to begin my training, while still stuck in the Bangkok hospital unable to walk.

Making good on my pledge, I asked the hospital for some weights to begin my training, while still stuck in the Bangkok hospital unable to walk.

Nearly a month passed by and I still had not taken a single step. I passed my days lying in bed talking to my Mom. She was amazing, keeping my brain occupied as my body tried to heal. One day we got on the topic of what I was going to do after I got released from the hospital and was allowed to fly back the USA. I told her “I am going to race a triathlon.” Keep in mind I had never raced a triathlon in my life up to this point, I hadn’t walked in a month, and my leg muscles were so atrophied my calves were the size of my wrists. The doctors had been telling me that they didn’t know if I would ever regain full range of motion in my legs, and thus would have a hard time walking for the rest of my life. As my mother told me later, she just nodded kept me talking about triathlon and thought “Oh baby, I just hope you walk again.” We talked more and more about how I was going to train, and get my body back to 100%. I fixated on this idea, and visualized myself strong again swimming, biking and running.

After over a month in Thai hospitals, I was released in a wheel chair to fly back to the USA, where I was treated at the Legacy Emanuel Burn Center of Excellence under the care of Dr. Joseph Pulito in Portland. It would still be another month at home as an outpatient before I relearned to walk, and a full year of rehab before I gained proper range of motion. I was treated at the Legacy Emanuel Burn Center of Excellence under the care of Dr. Joseph Pulito. Through this entire time, I never stopped thinking about my pledge to race a triathlon.

On the one-year anniversary of the accident, I was working in Chicago as a commodities trader. I decided I was ready to begin my training. I joined a gym, and set my sights on racing the Olympic distance Chicago Triathlon in August 2009 (only 19 months after the accident). I slowly got stronger, and enjoyed the process of seeing my leg muscles respond from their atrophied state.

Race day came around and I was feeling great. Finding myself at the start line, I was about to complete the pledge I had made to my Mom in Thailand. I was proud to have never given up hope even when I couldn’t walk. The results of that day were beyond anything I could have imagined. I surprised myself and many others as I won the overall amateur title at the 2009 Chicago Triathlon, beating all 4257 other racers.

Brian Gelber, CEO of Gelber Group a Chicago based trading firm, had become a mentor of mine while I was working in Chicago. After my success at the Chicago Tri, and also qualifying for the Age Group World Championships in Budapest, Hungary the following summer, Mr. Gelber encouraged me to pursue the sport full time and got on board becoming my first sponsor without whom I wouldn’t have had a chance at pursuing my dream of racing as a professional.

A shot of my legs upon my return stateside. It was over a year until my skin was stable enough to be exposed to sunlight.

A shot of my legs upon my return stateside. It was over a year until my skin was stable enough to be exposed to sunlight.

As a swimmer growing up I had always dreamed of competing in the Olympics. To me representing the USA on that great stage is the biggest accomplishment possible in sports. Triathlon has given me a new avenue to pursue my lifelong goal of competing in the Olympics. This year will be my third year racing triathlon professionally, now representing the USA on the international ITU circuit.

I would never wish the pain and suffering I experienced with my burns on anyone. However I often wonder if perhaps it was a blessing in disguise for me. It would have been easy to give up in the face of such adversity, but instead having my strength and health taken from me, made me appreciate my body and life so much more. Having overcome that obstacle, I don’t see any setback in my life being insurmountable. When my body is exhausted on the racecourse and everything hurts, I remember the pain of the burns and tell myself this pain from running hard is not so bad. Perspective is everything.

My legs have healed well, and after five years there are only faint traces of the scaring. The human body is truly amazing.

My legs have healed well, and after five years there are only faint traces of the scarring. The human body is truly amazing.

My goal of representing the USA at the 2016 Olympics is paramount in my life. Everyday I wake up and train with the goal of reaching that end. However, with the fifth anniversary of my accident passing, I have spent more time than usual talking and thinking about the events that changed the course of my life.

As a result I have a new aim to run parallel to my Olympic goal: I plan to give back to those who have experienced this type of trauma, and feel that life may not be worth living. I know firsthand the depression and doubt that can come from this type of tragedy. However, I also have experienced the resilience of the human body and spirit. I have been in contact with several burn foundations and groups, in hopes of sharing my story to inspire those who feel like giving up. It gives me more strength than ever to know that not only am I racing for Running Burn Blogmy own goals, but also I am racing to encourage those whose lives have been derailed by pain and suffering.