Maleia Tumolo

aka “True Grit”

The Low-Down on Maleia Tumolo

Growing up in Wilmington NC, Maleia is no stranger to sports and fitness having spent most of her time on the soccer field. She dedicated 18 years to playing, coaching, and being a referee. She also worked in local gyms taking her first job at Gold’s when she was only 16. In 2003 Maleia graduated from UNCW with a degree in Exercise Science and started personal training, teaching Pilates, and leading group exercise classes. Several years later while at work, WOL coach Brian Bohrer asked if she would like to do an Xterra triathlon. At the age of 30 she had only run for fun and did not even know what a triathlon was. She agreed, signed up for the race, and started attending WOL practices. Maleia says running and triathlons have provided her with so many amazing experiences and opportunities. She has raced every distance from 5k and sprint triathlons to ironman and ultra marathons. After a few years of racing Maleia perused her coaching certification and since then she has coached cross country, track and field, swimming, triathlon, and is a guide for a visually impaired endurance athletes. She’s worked with all levels of athletes and has an ability to show her athletes how to dig deep when the going gets tough but most importantly to remind them to put a smile on their face and remember how lucky they are to be in that moment and to have fun!

What She Coaches:

Level 1 Runners in Wilmington, NC

Guilty Pleasures:

Craft Beer and Audio Books

Top Songs on her Playlist:

Bob Marley Redemption
Soja Everything Changes
Hirie Almost Home

Qualities Maleia Admires In Her Students

I love to see an athlete succeed and surpass their goals but more importantly I like to see my athletes have fun. Because if it isn’t fun, then why are you doing it in the first place?

Defining Moment In Maleia’s Career

As a coach, my most defining moment was when I started coaching and guiding visually impaired athletes. So far, we have done 6 races together. Our most memorable is beach2battleship 140.6 in 2013. To this day I still get chills and emotional every time I think about how crazy the spectators cheered when we ran across the finish line. As an athlete, it would be racing for team USA at the Sprint Distance World Championships. And then doing the Crucible 3 day 70 miles hike just 5 month after having my baby.

Best Part About Being A Without Limits Coach

“Being able to train and work with so many different athletes with different backgrounds.  I love to hear each persons story. Who they are.  How they got started in the sport.  What it is that keeps them going.  Just the fact that I am able to coach and inspire them become a stronger athlete is amazing.  But really the best part is all the while they are here making me a better coach and person.”