Gen Matchette

Gen Matchette - 2012 Athleta Sponsored AthleteGEN MATCHETTE has always been active, participating in a multitude of sports from running to gymnastics and soccer as a child, to yoga, aerobics and kickboxing as an adult. At the urging of a friend, she competed in her first sprint triathlon shortly before her thirty-seventh birthday, at a time when her youngest child was not yet out of diapers. While she wasn’t fast, she also wasn’t last. In addition to competing in at least three or four sprint distance triathlons each year, Gen has competed in three half Ironman distance triathlons, 5K races, half-marathons and one full marathon — all while keeping up with three active children and a husband serving in the Air Force.

In 2010, at the age of forty, Gen was diagnosed with an aggressive form of stage III breast cancer. She underwent bilateral mastectomies, more than a year of chemotherapy, and recently finished breast reconstruction. Her doctors and nurses were amazed and amused by her persistence to keep exercising and competing, but exercising was her respite from cancer. She figured, “As long as I can train and compete, I know I’m not letting cancer beat me.”  Despite injuries and illness brought on by her treatments, Gen continued to move, even running a half-marathon three days after her third chemo session! Her youngest child ran with her across the finish line, something she does from time to time at races. Holding her little hand as they crossed the finish line reminded Gen why she does what she does — her children need their mom alive and well. She didn’t finish fast, but she didn’t finish last and (as her husband said) she was first in the “people who are getting chemo” category.  Gen believes that continuing to exercise throughout her treatments ultimately assisted in her mental, physical, and emotional recovery.

Together with her husband, Joe, a four-time Ironman, Gen started an informal triathlon group in the city where they’re currently stationed. They have both become mentors and role models to many athletes and non-athletes within their community, some of whom have wanted to just get off the couch and do a 5K, some of whom have wanted to compete in a full Ironman distance triathlon. Gen is often sought out to mentor newly diagnosed breast cancer patients as well. She regularly writes a no-holds-barred blog about their “cancer adventure.” Gen says, “Just because you have a diagnosis of cancer doesn’t mean you can’t and shouldn’t try to still do the things you love. You just have to make some adjustments.”



  • 2011 Relay member of Crazy J’ettes for Ironman Augusta 70.3
  • Three time Museum of Aviation Half Marathon finisher (while undergoing chemotherapy this past year)
  • Ironman Racine 70.3 finisher
  • Ironman Augusta 70.3 finisher
  • Disney Princess Half Marathon finisher
  • Disney Marathon finisher
  • ING Miami Half Marathon finisher
  • Several 2nd and 3rd place finishes in sprint-distance triathlons (three of which while undergoing treatment for breast cancer)
  • Overcame fear of open water swimming to successfully complete numerous sprint distance and two half Ironman distance triathlons
  • Overcame claustrophobia in the water to earn scuba certification


WEBSITE: Gen’s Blog »