A month before Edmonton’s Amanda Wowk was arrested for harassing her coach, the 23-year-old was in Galveston competing at Ironman 70.3 Texas. A few months after her arrest she did the Edmonton half-marathon, followed a week later by Ironman Coeur d’Alene. A year later she was caught cheating at Ironman 70.3 St. George and Ironman Mont-Tremblant. On Monday she was sentenced to a year in jail.
In August of 2018 we reported that Wowk had been caught cheating in Tremblant, cutting both the bike and run courses.
In a more detailed story by marathoninvestigation.com, we learned that Wowk had also cheated at Ironman 70.3 St. George.
Then, in June of this year, we learned that she had plead guilty to criminal harassment and fraudulent impersonation, as reported by cbc.ca.
Wowk met the man she had been harassing (his and his wife’s identity cannot be disclosed thanks to a publication ban) in 2016. The man’s wife is a fitness instructor for the city of Edmonton. Wowk also became an instructor for the city, and was also a member of his cycling club. According to press reports, he agreed to coach her.
Wowk also appears to have founded the Trifecta Tri Club, based out of the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), where she is a student, and appears to have remained active with the group until just before she appeared in court in June.
Our very own President and Founder sharing the true spirit of triathlon and what it takes to compete in the toughest endurance event. Well done @techlifeNAIT and @amanda_wowk. Can’t wait for more! @NAIT @NAITJRShaw https://t.co/l1wVYrFLw7
— TRIfecta Tri Club (@TRIfecta_TRI) July 30, 2018
— TRIfecta Tri Club (@TRIfecta_TRI) May 20, 2019
Wowk admitted to sending hundreds of emails and voicemails to her victim from December, 2016, to May, 2017, when she was arrested. The day after her arrest her mother tried to take responsibility for the harassment. During the time period she was harassing the couple, she maintained a friendship with them, even house-sitting for them while they were away on vacation.
The emails and voice messages accused the victim of being unfaithful to his wife and telling her to leave him. Emails were even sent to some of the victim’s clients. In January, 2017, the victim asked Wowk to help him set up a new email address, which she linked to her own account. She then tried to derail the police investigation – the victim went to the police at the end of 2016 – by using his new account to email police, asking them to stop the investigation. She also sent emails to the victim impersonating a police officer, telling him to try and get the case dropped.
Wowk also set up a fake Twitter account in the victim’s name, sending screen shots of supposed messages between the victim and a mistress to police.
As reported by CBC.ca, “Ms. Wowk claimed to have harassed [the victim] because she felt that the [he and his wife] were not in a happy marriage and she wanted to help them realize that they would be happier if they divorced,” according to an agreed statement of facts filed with the court on May 29, 2019.
“The sheer nature of the email content was so malicious in nature it was hard to fathom how one could come up with this material,” the 59-year-old man said in his impact statement. “Since the start of this, I’ve suffered from mental anguish, stress, depression and suicidal thoughts. Day after day, I was scared to turn on my computer or phone to see the daily distribution of emails and what new names were now on the list.”
According to reports from the courtroom, in a psychological assessment Wowk told the psychologist that her actions were “the greatest mistake of my life … I never had any negative ill will that I wanted to destroy them. I just wish at that point in my life I was as centred as I am now. It’s like looking back at a different person.”
Wowk has been ordered to report to the Edmonton Remand Centre on Jan. 3, 2020 to serve nine months for criminal harassment and three months for fraudulent personation. She will be on probation for two more years after her release. She was also required to pay $1,475 in restitution to cover half the cost of counselling the victim received after the harassment.