Grand Rapids Triathlon Race Crew

Lori Ott


This is my fifth year on the staff of the Grand Rapids Tri. In 2013 it was my first triathlon as an athlete and it’s still my favorite course. Up until this year, I’ve been a Sprint distance triathlete, but I’m changing my game up a bit as I work towards earning the West MI Endurance Award this year. After months of training for my first 70.3, I have a whole new appreciation for the athletes who do longer distances. I’ll be looking forward to crossing that finish line. When not working on organizing triathlons throughout the year, I’m busy organizing the lives of my three sons (10, 15, 15) and enjoying adventures with my husband of 23 years.

Jason Miller


Back in 2006, I saw a race where people were swimming, biking and running. I thought those people are nuts, but I always like new adventures and I said to myself, “I can do that.” Since then I have spent a lot of money on special shoes, watches, bikes and tight clothes. I have completed many races from sprint distance to full Ironman. I enjoy seeing people accomplish their goals and finish races that I once thought was nuts. I am thankful to have the support of my wife Sara and our two girls Marysa and Samantha. Without their support, I wouldn’t be able to be involved in this great sport.

Courtney Babcock


I started participating in organized races in 2012 but have been enthusiastically active my entire life. I found my joy for running in elementary school, joined the track team in high school and focused on speed training in college. I have enjoyed the adrenaline of racing and the motivation to set new personal records. I became involved with triathlons through my husband, who has competed in a variety of distances in races around West Michigan. I am excited to be back for another year to meet the awesome athletes and work with our outstanding volunteers to put on a best-in-class event.

Brian McLane


I have played soccer and other sports since I was in middle school and have made physical activity an important part of my life. I began practicing yoga about seven years ago, which has helped a lot with strength, endurance, and peace of mind. I never enjoyed running, and throughout my life, I have worked on cardio by participating in team sports. I work at Priority Health in product development on consumer-engaged health plans and fundamentally believe that staying in good shape and eating well are the keys to maintaining a good quality of life in the long run (pardon the pun).

Jim Vidro


Since I was introduced to triathletes, I have been impressed with their attitudes. When our kids started organizing these two events, I just knew I had to get involved. It has been a fantastic experience spending time with all these wonderful athletes and volunteers.

Tim Guikema


I have been involved in Triathlons since 2010. Starting off with a neighborhood Tri, Lech Lecha, I crossed the finish line and fell in love with this type of racing. I’ve been with the GR Tri for 5 years and would not miss the opportunity to race/help out and be involved in this race. I will back helping pick up YOUR TRASH. Please “Give a hoot, don’t pollute!!”

Chris Gates


As a young boy I remember watching my father compete in tris, I had no idea that someday we’d be doing them together. Five years ago my father challenged me to 3 months of sobriety. I challenged him with 3 months of a healthier lifestyle and a fitness program, we agreed to compete in the Reeds Lake Triathlon together after our 90 days was up. We had such a blast together we wanted to take it to the next level. The next year we did the GR Tri together. Last year we did the MiTi Half together, and this year we’ll complete the MiTi Full together. It’s been such an experience to be able to compete in these events with my father, pushing the limits of our bodies and improving our mental and physical health every step, pedal, and stroke of the way. I’m a Network Engineer during the day and dabble in semi-professional photography on the side.

Lonna Blair


In 2005, I became inspired watching a local triathlon in Grand Rapids, MI. If all those people could do a triathlon, then so could I! My first triathlon was in September 2006 and thus began the addiction. I’ve completed every triathlon distances from Sprint to Full. I’ve also participated in several bike tours/races ranging from 50 to 100 milers, hills to flats and running races of all distances including marathons. I’ve learned how important it is to give back – to the volunteers, to the participants. I’m happy to do this as a Champion.

Gail Vidro


I was introduced to the triathlon world when my son Andy participated in his first race. I was drawn in further to the triathlon world by listening as Andy and Ann began to work on their dream of a triathlon in Grand Rapids. Now, by volunteering, I am able to become a part of this amazing event.

Don Goetcheus


In 2007 I was minding my own business swimming laps a couple days a week and mountain biking to stay in shape. But these sports, on my own, weren’t getting the workouts that I needed. So I started running for the first time in my life. Within a year I had finished my first full marathon. In 2008 a friend, with whom I swam on the high school swim team, asked me to join him at a Master swim practice. He mentioned a group that was getting together to transport disabled individuals around at triathlons and he wanted me to be a part of it. That was the beginning of My Team Triumph. My experience with that proved life-changing, as I had been bitten by the triathlon bug. I have worked my way up to multiple Half distance tris, multiple marathons, and a few bike races each year. My down time is spent with my two teenage boys and as a financial advisor with Ameriprise Financial Services.

Todd Bradford


I am an avid cyclist with a passion for all things two-wheeled. Between weekend rides and commuting to work on either my bike or motorcycle, I often forget what it’s like to drive a car during the summer months. This is Todd’s seventh year heading up the Moto-Patrol, which provides race support for the bike course and paces the bike and run leaders for each distance. In addition, this will mark his sixth year coordinating the bike course volunteers.

Eric Mentalewicz


Due to a health issue in 2015, I decided to change my lifestyle and lose some weight. I lost over 70 pounds and found myself in the best shape of my life. I got the idea to compete in a triathlon and began training for the GR Tri. That was my first triathlon and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I instantly became hooked and plan to participate in many more. I have made it my passion to lead a healthy lifestyle and to help everyone I can do the same for themselves. My wife Stephanie and I have 5 children and I want to continue to show them you can do anything you set your mind to.

Rocky Babcock


I have always been an active person but have never really been much of a run/bike/swimmer until 2012 when I started biking. I originally started out as only a biker but transitioned over the years while looking for new ways to stay active. My wife and I have been running since we’ve been together and continually do races together and are always there to support each other. Since 2012 I have participated in up to 7 Triathlons each year and have enjoyed every one. I have always enjoyed being part of the races and am now happy to be a part of the team that makes these races so great.

Josh Janowiak


I’m excited to serve in my third year as the Run Course Champion! Volunteering in a sport I love with awesome people has been a blast. Last year, I achieved the Aim High Endurance Award by running the 25k 5/3 River Run, riding 80 miles in the MSU GranFondo, finishing the Michigan Titanium Full Triathlon and running the Grand Rapids Marathon. The MiTi was my first full distance Triathlon and it was a rewarding experience. This year my wife and I are fostering two year old twins but I plan to take them running whenever I can! When I’m not playing outdoors with my family, I enjoy promoting outdoor fun at Sandy Pines Recreational Community and hosting the new Marketers In Motion Podcast which is produced by the West Michigan Chapter of the American Marketing Society.

Amy Larson


In 2013, my sister and friend told me I should try a triathlon with them – I did, and I was hooked. I joined TriToFinish, and competed in over 20 triathlons from super sprints up to a full aquabike. I was lucky to win a spot via lottery and competed in the bucket list ‘Escape from Alcatraz’ Triathlon out in California and discovered a massive love for open water swimming. I have swam across the Straits of Mackinac, an ultra-marathon swim (9.2miles) in Chattanooga, TN and about 10-15 10k swims. This summer I will be swimming 25 miles in Lake Huron to train for my ultimate goal – Lake Michigan. Next year, I will hopefully make the 60mi swim across lake Michigan, from Wisconsin to Ludington to raise awareness for ALS. I have an amazing group of friends who love this sport right here in West Michigan and decided volunteering would be the best way to give back and still be a part of all the fun!

Adam Baker


I got into endurance racing approx. 6 years ago and have done everything from simple 5k’s to full Ironman distance with some ultras in there for good measure. So, I’ve seen a lot of examples of what works and what doesn’t work in regards to race set-up and execution. The most unique set-up from a triathlon race I did several years ago, was a dual transition set up where they had 2 separate transition areas. While it seemed to flow well for the athlete, and just required more time in the morning for prepping two transition bags, I can imagine how difficult it was for the race staff to set up and manage two areas; or the ultra distance race that did not have any aid stations and was entirely athlete crew supported. Having a well thought out and planned race set-up is critical to its success not only for the athletes, but also for the many volunteers and staff who put in their time and energy to set up the race site. I’m happy to be back helping to support the GR Tri staff and athletes again for setting up this amazing race! Good luck to everyone!

Jill Martinek


I have been involved in sports almost my whole life. My dad bought me my first set of golf clubs when I was eight years old and my first road bike when I was 13. I really got into running in college and started competing in races soon after starting a teaching career. After my children were born I took time away from my career to stay home. My “go get ‘em” attitude, however, didn’t change and I discovered I could train for half marathons and triathlons while pushing and pulling along my babies. I did my first tri in 2008 and my first half marathon in 2010. I love all aspects of racing, from competing to directing and look forward to being the Sign Champion for the bike course this year!

Jennifer Baker


For too long, I was an on-again/off-again exerciser. As I saw the years going by, I knew I needed to establish a habit of regular exercise not only to help me feel better and stay healthy but also to set a good example for my kids. I wanted them to see how important it is to incorporate fitness into your life. The solution: I challenged myself to do 3 triathlons in my 39th year. My first was the GR Tri Sprint in 2012. Now I love being on race staff almost as much as training and racing myself.

Courtney Smith


Growing up in Madison, WI, I’ve always been captivated and inspired by the energy of triathlons. Running marathons and being active my entire life, I knew some day I would be a triathlete. When I moved to Grand Rapids in 2017, the stars aligned, and I became the Sponsorship Coordinator for the GR & MiTi Triathlons. I finished my first Tri soon after at GR Tri 2018 and love the sport!  I thoroughly enjoy making connections and building relationships, so if you or your company are looking for an event to sponsor, email me and lets talk! I’d love to connect you with our amazing triathlon community.  Good Luck Athletes!!

Erin Kring


With a background in swimming and running, triathlons have always been a natural fit for me. I raced my first sprint tri in 2007 and have been a part of the sport ever since. The community atmosphere and all the great people I’ve met through triathlon continue to motivate me to keep moving! I’m blessed to have a husband who is an avid cyclist and understands the training demands of being a triathlete. We just had a daughter, Evelyn, who I’m sure will spend the summer rotating between the Burley and the Baby Jogger with us. I’ve raced the GR Tri Olympic and Half Iron distances in the past, and am very excited to be a part of this outstanding event from the other side!

Bill Ott


After getting hooked on the gateway drug of a 5k in my mid-thirties, I continued my downward spiral, experimenting with events from mud runs through a Half Iron triathlon, finally settling on my fix of choice, the ultramarathon. I’m the unusual triathlete who enjoys the swim and run but has a general loathing for the bike. I’ll need to get over that before tackling a Full some day. After my early morning runs, I also enjoy frying bacon shirtless, narrating life to my wife’s Facebook audience, and relaxing on race day to the dulcet tones of Larry Crabbe.

Jane Garrett


I have been doing triathlons since 2009 and have competed in the GR Tri every year since it originated. I have completed 4 Half Ironman distance races, including the Grand Rapids 70.3 two times. I love this race, it has always been a favorite of mine. I am excited to be on the volunteer side of the race this year. It will give me a chance to share my knowledge of triathlon with others. When I am not racing I am spending time with my two children, Jack and Molly, who keep me very busy with their sports of hockey and volleyball. I have been a teacher for 21 years and enjoy sharing my racing experience with them.

Heather Gluszewski


I began supporting family members participating in triathlons since 2008. I quickly learned what a fun, healthy, and community based sport it is. I love being a spectator, the excitement of the crowd, cheering on the participants, and I still get goose bumps watching people cross the finish line. My focus has been on giving back to the community with my time, efforts, and skills. I have had the opportunity to get involved with some amazing organizations and meet some wonderful people. I serve on a number of boards and committees including Spectrum Health Cancer Patient & Family Advocacy Council (council member), West Michigan Works! Workforce Development (board member), and Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance (board member). I also have been actively involved with Grand Rapid Sister Cities International, Athena, Junior Achievement, Gilda’s Club Red, Michigan Women’s Foundation, and American Cancer Society. I live in Hudsonville, with my dog Hank who is a frequent spectator at the races as well.

Kari Olmstead


I started running my senior year in high school after a volleyball injury. Fifteen plus years later, it has become my passion. I have completed multiple 5k’s, 10k’s and a half marathon. My ultimate goal would be to complete a full marathon. I love being a part of the Priority Health Team of Champions and love being involved with the Grand Rapids Triathlon!

For more information about participating in The Grand Rapids Triathlon please contact us here or you can REGISTER today by clicking on the link in our menu.