Grand Rapids Triathlon Race Crew

Lori Ott

ASSISTANT TO THE RACE DIRECTORS

The 2022 triathlon season will mark my ninth year working as the assistant to the race directors for Tris4Health. However, I have been involved with the Grand Rapids Tri since it’s second year where I volunteered in transition and fell in love with the sport of triathlon. I swore the following year when I turned 40 I’d become a triathlete myself. I’ve been a part of Michigan Titanium since the beginning, volunteering the first two years of the event before joining the staff in the Fall of 2013. When I’m not wrapped up in triathlon/gravel world, I’m spending time with my husband of 27 years and my three teenage sons. I’m always happy to be of assistance to our athletes and help keep things running smoothly behind the scenes.

Elizabeth Fanco

ADMINISTRATIVE

As a lifelong non-athlete, my world turned upside down when I started walking (and eventually running) for clean water with Team World Vision in 2018. Over the past few years I’ve gone from having never run a mile to racing dozens of half marathons, running the NYC marathon, and even becoming a triathlete. I’m a busy mom of 8 who left behind 2 decades in the legal field to work doing what I’m passionate about: helping put on the best race experience for seasoned athletes and first timers alike. My absolute FAVORITE thing about working on races here in Michigan is when someone experiences the change that happens when they go from “I could never do that” to crossing the finish line and realizing that they just accomplished what they once thought was impossible.

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).

Dennis Barber

AWARDS

Triathlon’s have been part of me for over 40 yrs. I’ve completed well of 350 starting in the early 80’s.  The best tri’s I’ve completed happened while on a team. My daughter would swim and my son and I jockey for who would bike or run.  The tri community is a blessing to be part of. The atmosphere and energy in training and race day is addictive.  Looking forward to giving back to the tri community from the other side, to learn and be just as enthusiastic.

Eric Mentalewicz

BIKE COURSE

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

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.

Alison Kraai McKee

FINISH LINE FOOD

I’ve been a lifelong athlete, including running and swimming, yet was generally a bit hesitant to ride a road bike. After having a premature baby, I was looking for a way to feel mentally and physically stronger, so I trained for and finished my first triathlon in 2012. I also discovered that I do love to ride bikes as well. In the past ten years, I’ve completed every distance of triathlon, including a full 140.6 last year (2021). The gift of training, of competing, and being in this sport has given me so much, that this year I look forward to giving back and supporting others.

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

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!”

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.

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.

Keith Love

SITE MANAGER

I signed up for my first sprint triathlon in 2016. Prior to that I had never swam a lap, touched a road bike, or ran more than a 5k, so the thought of all three at once was terrifying! A friend talked me into signing up and I wasn’t sure I was going to live through the swim. After A LOT of training and helpful advice from
friends, I survived and only crashed once! Needless to say, I fell in love with the magic of race day which is why I joined the Tris4Health team. I want everyone to love triathlons as much as I do so I joined the amazing team that makes that possible!

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!

Jason Perry

SWIM COURSE

I been someone to strive and try something new and have become encompassed in the endurance world and being outdoors.  I started running in 2006 with my first race being the River Bank Run, then into Ultra Running,  then moving onto triathlons with GRTri in 2011. I always find myself returning for this race whenever I can.

I have been active with community awareness for Michigan Special Olympics by participating in polar plunges and being an active member of the Law enforcement Torch Run Central Route.  I have also participated with Make-A-Wish Bike Ride.  I am a firm believer in “you get what you put in!” and look forward to this next adventure!

Dawn Hinz

SWIM SAFETY

I love the water! I love swimming! I’ve swam more events than I can count; including swimming around Mackinac Island. I love sharing swimming and triathlon with others by coaching with Athletic Mentors. My two boys enjoy swimming as well… My husband, eh, not so much.

I place high value on safeguarding others.  As a lifeguard on Lake Michigan, I was taught diligence and focus for life safety. Building on the lifeguarding of my teenage years, I began my career as a Firefighter / Paramedic in 1999, right out of high school. With the support of Athletic Mentors, I’m eager to partner with Tri4Health as their Swim Safety Coordinator.  Working together with local Sherriff’s, Firefighter’s, and Diver’s, we’ll provide a rock solid safe swim experience.

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.

Lisa Robinson

VIP

In 2012, I joined my church running club after my last child had graduated from high school. I needed to get out socially and why not get in shape too. Little did I know that this crazy bunch of instigators, runners, cyclists and triathletes would change the direction of my life in the best way possible. 2013 was the year of why not! I accomplished every running race distance from a 5K to a 50K and Sprint, Olympic and Half Iron distance triathlons. I was so in awe of our running and triathlon communities, I was hooked for life. Having participated in so many events, I understand how important it is in giving back. Need a volunteer for your race, I’m in! I’ve been on several race staff through out the years as well. This year, I’ve finally had the opportunity to join the staff of one of my favorite race, Grand Rapids Triathlon. I can’t wait to help make race day as exciting for this years participants as it was for me at my first GRTri.

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.