Dina Neils, aka Titanium Triathlete, is a triathlete with Rheumatoid Arthritis, two total hip replacements and a total wrist fusion. “You will never run again and you will be in a wheel chair by the time you’re in your mid 20’s.” Not willing to accept that diagnosis, Dina told the doctor that she was wrong and walked out – she was 18. Dina’s battled RA, (an auto-immune disease with no cure that causes chronic pain and inflammation affecting joints and organs throughout the body), for over a decade. As an advocate and blogger, her passion to help others and never-give-up attitude has enabled her to be a beacon in the chronic illness community.
As a competitive triathlete, Dina races to create awareness for autoimmune disease and to inspire those battling adversity to pursue their dreams and not allow a medical diagnosis to detour them. Within the last two years, Dina has completed 14 races (triathlons/running races), many with top age group finishes/medals, in addition to a couple of top overall female achievements. In 2015, Dina set out on a quest to qualify for USA Triathlon Nationals. On March 1st, 2015 she qualified for Nationals on her first shot and competed in USA Triathlon National Championships in Milwaukee, WI August 8th, 2015. Dina’s also set her sights on completing her first Ironman 70.3 in 2017. Dina has been featured in publications including USA Triathlon, Everyday Health, LAVA Magazine, Good Day Sacramento, Arthritis Digest, and has a Triathlete Magazine.
- I was a runner before my diagnoses and before I crossed over to triathlon – my sport was cross country and long distance track and field.
- After being diagnosed with RA, it me a good 10 years to be able to run consistently again.
- I have 19 metal screws, 5 pieces of metal, and cement in my body – that’s why they call me Titanium Triathlete.
- Triathlon training is a front – I’m actually training for the zombie apocalypse.
- I’m a major dog lover and advocate for American staffy/bully breed dogs – and have two of my own who are incredibly sweet and very spoiled.
USAP Folsom Sprint Triathlon; 2nd AG
USAP California Triathlon; 5th AG
TBF Tri for Real Olympic Distance Triathlon; 2nd AG
USAT AG Nationals in Omaha; Top 30% of all females on the run
Race Highlights (post RA diagnoses and surgeries)
USA Triathlon National Championships – Milwaukee, WI; PR: 3:01 (Olympic)
Aggieathlon – 1st AG, Qualifying race for USAT National Championships
Freedom 5k – 1st AG, 6th female overall, PR: 22:51
California Triathlon – PR: 1:32 (Sprint)
ICE Breaker Triathlon – 5th AG (2nd triathlon competed in)