|24 April, 1985
|M.S. International Public Service
|Running, Duathlon, Triathlon
Simona Čelik was born and raised in Slovenia with passion for sports. Volleyball consumed her days, and she quickly progressed to more advanced competition. However, at a young age, Simona focused more on her studies than she did on reaching her full potential on the court. Her undergraduate studies of international relations included study abroad at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and working for a nonprofit organization in rural Kenya. Her academic success was recognized with the prestigious Prešeren Award by the University of Ljubljana.
The knowledge Simona gained during her undergraduate studies created awareness within her of making a bigger difference with her life. Simona wanted a life without borders, and in 2011, she moved to Chicago to earn her Masters of Science Degree in International Public Service. It was not until then, being a full-time student with a job at the university, that Simona discovered her love for running and triathlon. While she got into those sports almost by accident, she has put her heart and soul into testing her limits and showing that the bar can be raised. After successfully competing in many running and triathlon races, Simona’s love for training and spending time with her family outdoors brought her to beautiful Northern California.
Never in her wildest dreams did Simona envision she would be where she is today. Representing Slovenia, Simona became the 2019 ITU Long Distance Duathlon Age Group World Champion. While she is ranked 1st nationally and 9th best overall duathlete in the world, she now, more than ever, wants to seize this wonderful opportunity to inspire and encourage others to take up the sport and push the bar a little higher. The door is open to all, and Simona is a living proof that anything is possible with hard work, self-belief, passion and support.
2019 Female Athlete of the Year, Slovenian Triathlon Federation
2019 All-American Honor, USA Triathlon
2019 ITU Long Distance Duathlon AG World Champion
2019 Santa Cruz Duathlon Champion
2019 Orange County Duathlon Champion
2019 Powerman Arizona Duathlon Champion
2019 TBF’s New Year Duathlon Champion
2014 USA Triathlon National Championships
2014 Chicago Lakefront 50/50 Bronze Medalist
2013, 2014, 2015 Boston Marathon Qualifier
2013 Toledo Marathon Division Winner and 2nd Overall
2013 City by the Lake Tri AG Winner
2004–2006 Slovenia Women’s National Volleyball Team
Bachelor of Science Degree in International Relations
Prešeren Award, University of Ljubljana
Master of Science Degree in International Public Service
“I love the way my training plan weaves together a variety of workouts and binds them together in one common goal: Stronger Every Day! I also love that my plan pushes me but doesn’t break me. It seems to strike the perfect balance of challenging and confidence building; commonly on different days but sometimes on the same workout. Simona is great at sometimes putting together workouts where I think “I’m not sure I can do this. But I’ll try.” And then I successfully do it and I feel great! I think I always understood the virtue of hard work, but it was Coach Simona who showed me the pure joy of hard work! I have never in my life felt stronger or healthier. I truly look forward to each and every day of my training plan.”