Grand Rapids Triathlon Race Crew

Lori Ott

ADMINISTRATIVE

This is my eighth year working on the Tris4Health events as the assistant to the race directors, in the years before that I was a volunteer turned GRTri athlete. I truly love being part of the two best triathlons in Michigan and am excited that this year we’ll be able to add The Dirty Mitten to the mix. It was nice to have a little free time last year to enjoy the summer with my husband and three teenage sons, but I’m so glad to be back to in-person racing this year. It will be nice to get back to the thing I love most about working on these events, interacting with the athletes. Always happy to be of assistance. . . but really I have no idea what the water temperature is!

Jason Miller

AID STATIONS/BIKE

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 were 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

AID STATIONS/RUN

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.

Brian McLane

AID STATIONS/SUPPLY

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).

Tim Guikema

JACK-OF-ALL-TRADES

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 8 years and would not miss the opportunity to race/help out and be involved in this race.

Chris Gates

EXPO

As a boy I remember watching my dad compete in tris, I had no idea that someday we’d be doing them together. Years ago he 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. The next year we did the GR Tri together. We have competed in the MiTi Half & 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.

Lonna Blair

FINISH LINE

In 2005, I became inspired watching a local triathlon in GR. My first triathlon was in Sept 2006 and thus began the addiction. I’ve completed every 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. I’m happy to do this as a Champion.

Don Goetcheus

KIDS’ TRIATHLON

In 2007 I was swimming laps a couple of 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 asked me to join him at a Master’s swim practice. He mentioned a group that was getting together to transport disabled individuals around at tris 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. boys and as a financial advisor with Ameriprise Financial Services.

Todd Bradford

MOTO-PATROL & BIKE COURSE

As an avid cyclist and enthusiast of all things two-wheeled in general, I love triathlon. Ten years ago, I was asked to help with the GRTri, by heading up the MotoPatrol. That was an amazing and inspiring experience and I vowed to learn everything I could about the sport and create a top-notch MotoPatrol. Since then, I have used my experience as an MSF motorcycle training coach and organizational leader to assemble a highly skilled team that share my commitment to the sport. We work with officials and the race crew to ensure athlete safety and fair competition on the bike course. We look forward to seeing you out there and you might even hear us shout, “keep going – you’ve got this!”

Eric Mentalewicz

PACKET PICKUP

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

ROAD CLOSURES

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.

Victoria Brown

RUN COURSE

Sports and physical fitness have always been an important part of my life. While on vacation a few years ago, I was discussing with my sister how it has always been a goal of mine to complete a triathlon, even though I had anxiety about open water swimming. A few months later, I connected with athletes in the endurance community, found a swim coach, learned how to swim and within a few months started training for my first triathlon. I’ve been hooked ever since! Over the past couple of years, I have gone on to complete several tris, River Bank Run, many ½ marathons, MSU Grand Fondo, The Marine Corp Marathon, IMOhio – Half Ironman, and have competed in USAT Age Group Nationals. When not competing, I love to give back to the community that has embraced me, by volunteering for My Team Triumph in addition to assisting aspiring athletes. I am a firm believer in anything is possible if you set your mind to it.

Jay Fournier

SET UP & TEAR DOWN

I did my first triathlon (sprint) in 2018 and I, like so many others, was hooked. Now the distances are getting longer and the frequency of competing just keeps increasing. After participating in IMTC 70.3 in 2019 on a relay team, I had to do it individually. IMTC was of course canceled in 2020 but I am signed up for the real thing this year in Frankfort and I am pumped. You will find me at many other West Michigan endurance races this summer as I am getting ready! After a long hiatus in 2020 from organized endurance sports (or anything for that matter), I am so ready for this triathlon season. I genuinely look forward to being a small part of helping other people accomplish their goals! Come say “Hi”!

Jill Martinek

SIGNAGE – BIKE COURSE

I live in Alaska, MI with my two labradoodles, a pet rabbit, and two teenage children. I’ve been a runner forever! Decided to try a triathlon about 13 years ago. I think you have to love it if you are going to keep putting yourself through all the pain every year! I didn’t get really serious about it though until about ten years ago. Since then I’ve worked my way up to a half iron man and sit on the race committee of two other races. I also have been an ambassador for Hincapie Sportswear for the last four years. Triathlon feeds my need for adventure and gives me the satisfaction of accomplishment.

Jennifer Baker

SIGNAGE – RUN COURSE

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.

Chelsea Montes

SOCIAL MEDIA & MARKETING

I joined the GR Tri team in August 2019 and was looking forward to my first race season in 2020, thanks a lot pandemic! While I have not officially competed in a triathlon myself, I have a love for the triathlon world and community after working and traveling as a Media Delegate and Social Media Manager for the International Triathlon Union (now World Triathlon) for over four years. One of the most memorable triathlon moments of my career was witnessing Gwen Jorgensen win the very first Gold Medal for the USA at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. I am excited to finally be back in person this year and see all the GRTri athletes in action!

Adam Veltema

SWIM COURSE

Triathlon has been part of my family for over 12 years now. I’ve spent most of my life in the water but didn’t “learn” to swim till about 12 years ago. From there I went on to race many local sprint triathlons, 5k’s and marathons and worked up to Ironman races. As I love racing, I also feel volunteering is an important part of triathlon. I have volunteered for almost every position you can for a triathlon as a benefit is great spectating! My wife and I, have been coordinating portions of races for almost as long as we have been racing and that understanding helps some of the best races around! I am also a Certified Lifeguard and am currently trying to grow West Michigan’s awareness of how important lifeguards are when we race. I am honored to be part of the GR Tri.

Bill Ott

TECHNICAL SUPPORT / PARKING

When not hanging out with the “loud redhead“ on staff you can find me running a bunch of miles, fixing almost anything, frying shirtless bacon, or doing things like shaving my head bald during a live Zoom meeting. This is my eighth year helping with the GR Tri and my twenty-eighth year helping out that sassy redhead.

Jane Garrett

TRANSITION

I have been doing triathlons since 2009 and have competed in the GR Tri every year since it originated. I love the GR Tri, it has always been a favorite of mine. After completing numerous 70.3’s I have decided to do a full 140.6 this year, it will be my first! I love the triathlon family, it is such a wonderful group of people. The athletes and staff keep me coming back each year to be part of the team.

Heather Gluszewski

VIP

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 goosebumps watching people cross the finish line. My focus has been on giving back to the community with my time, efforts, and skills. I live in Hudsonville, with my dog Hank who is a frequent spectator at the races as well.

Jill Beckwith

VOLUNTEER

The older I got the more I realized how much I loved volunteering. This year marks 5 years with the GR TRI. I have also been the Spectator Experience Champion at the Michigan Titanium Triathlon for 4 years & am known as “Sno cone Jill.” For me there is nothing more rewarding than giving back & cheering that person across the finish line. West Michigan has such an incredible multi-sport community and I feel so lucky to live here and be a part of it.

For more information about the Grand Rapids Triathlon please contact us here.