About Ellen

Ellen and DonaldEllen Charnley is a Chartered Accountant, consultant and avid Triathlete. Ellen has completed many triathlons both locally and internationally. Born in England, she and her husband, Don, have lived in London, Bermuda,  Hawaii, Las Vegas, Chicago, Carmel and San Francisco. They now reside back in their home in Las Vegas with their dog Dude

In the summer of 2009, I started to notice a temporary loss of vision in my right eye when riding my bicycle for several hours at a time. After completing the grueling ‘Silverman’ triathlon in November 2009 half blind, I knew it was time to have my health checked out. A series of coincidences and good fortune led me to a team of experts at the Cleveland Clinic, who after a week of thorough testing concluded that I had multiple holes in my heart, a congenital birth defect that would require immediate surgery to prevent my heart failing. This was in March 2010, just eight months before Ironman Arizona, a race that I had entered four months earlier. All hopes of competing in my first ever Ironman event were dashed and survival became my only objective. Open-heart surgery is a big deal and as a healthy, fit triathlete, it just wasn’t on my bucket list. My surgeon told me the day before my surgery that I would be up and running within a few weeks. I wasn’t sure what to believe, I was scared, but I was sure that I would do everything in my power to recover fully and quickly. Some things however can’t be rushed and my mind was ready to train much faster than my heart was. By the summer of 2010, I started to believe that my Ironman dreams would never be realized, however, my drive and ambition never let me give up hope. But would my doctors agree to me racing this 140.6-mile race just eight months after open heart surgery?

Learn what Ellen is up to now, by visiting www.flatlinetofinishline.com. Ellen is co-producing and starring in a feature-length documentary which follows 8 cardiac patients as they train and ultimately compete in an Ironman Triathlon.