Meet the hardworking people behind Grand Rapids Triathlon and the ones who make race day happen year after year. As we prepare for the debut (and hopefully last) edition of the Grand Rapids Virtual Triathlon 9.5 this June, we celebrate the people who volunteer their time and have made GR Tri one of the best triathlons in the state…. or we like to think in the world!

Name: Jennifer Baker
Age: 47
Hometown: Farmington Hills, MI
Occupation: Sales Account Manager & Yoga Teacher
Champion Position: Run Signs

How you got involved with Grand Rapids Triathlon?
I started as an athlete.  Once you get to know the racing community, you want to give back.

Have you ever raced the event? 
Yes!  The GR Tri was my very first ever race in 2012.  It was great.  I’d never done anything like that before; it felt like a huge accomplishment.

Do you have a favorite memory at the event?
I’ve seen so many great moments over the years.  Usually it’s about the staff, going above and beyond to make someone’s experience better.  I love our post-race staff meetings, recapping our favorite moments from the day.

Any race mishaps over the years you like to laugh at now?
In 2013 I had a tire side wall blow out on my first Olympic distance event.  It ended my race, but I got to cheer for everyone on the bike course while I was waiting for the SAG wagon.

What do you love about triathlon?
I love that really ANYONE can do this if you make your mind up.  I love that you can have infinite goals in this sport.  I love open water swim training—being out in a lake, all by yourself, floating in the quietness.

What is your favorite thing about the Grand Rapids Triahtlon?
I’ve done a lot of races over the years.  It’s the most professional independent triathlon I’ve ever seen.

Your perfect post-race meal?
Vitale’s pizza for sure.

Why should someone still do the Grand Rapids Virtual Triathlon 9.5?
Don’t let a pandemic get in the way of your healthy lifestyle and training plans!  Those things you do for yourself. Race day is just a celebration of it—Celebrate with the virtual community!