SarahHerman_SmallForty year old, Sarah Herman is competing in her very first triathlon this year at the Grand Rapids Tri, thanks to her connection as a freelance commercial photographer for Huntington Bank. Nine months ago Sarah woke up 40 pounds overweight. It was the heaviest she’d been in her life and in that moment she decided to make a change. She began by riding her 20-year-old Specialized mountain bike every other day. Small distances turned into longer rides and the weight began to fall off.

Health issues that had once plagued Sarah diminished and for the first time in many years she felt healthy, happy, and confident in the way she looked. In addition to exercise, she changed the way she looked at food and made the leap to vegetarianism. The combination of a healthy diet and exercise assisted her in losing 43 pounds.

As she began to ride more frequently, Sarah realized that she needed to challenge herself to try new things. A triathlon seemed like the perfect way to mix up cycling with a bit of running and swimming. Sports were a big part of her life in high school but then took a back seat to family, careers, and life. It’s only been in the past year that Sarah has begun to love the camaraderie and personal satisfaction that competitive sports offer.

Sarah finds that without a doubt cycling is her favorite of the three disciplines. “I love the speed and rhythmic south of the tires on the pavement.” However, she finds swimming to be the greatest challenge and like a lot of athletes who begin this sport, she’s just hoping to make it out of the water. Her biggest concern about race day as a “newbie” is swimming in the open water.

The Sprint distance at the Grand Rapids Tri this year will be Sarah’s first triathlon, but she already has a second one on the schedule for later in the season. Training has become a part of Sarah’s lifestyle. Swim Monday, Run Tuesday, Cycle Wednesday, Swim Thursday, Friday Off (I need it by Friday) Saturday Cycle, Sunday Swim. Repeat! “I love training; many days my husband will join me. It is an hour out of our hectic lives that we can spend together just the two of us.” Her husband is someone who inspires her. “Not only is he a wonderful husband, father, and my best friend. He is also a marathon runner; he is my biggest fan and pushes me when I need it most.”

Thank you, Sarah, for picking our event to be your first. And thank you, Huntington, for providing her the opportunity to be here.

Grand Rapids Triathlon

Grand Rapids Triathlon

We are the largest independent triathlon and proud host of five USAT National Championships over the course of our nine-year history. While our event brings in some of the best athletes from across the country, we have also been named one of the Top 5 Best Triathlons for Beginners in the country according to Triathlon Business International. This triathlon event is a chance for athletes of all skill levels to compete on a scenic riverside course, perfect for the novice through the seasoned triathlete. Offering Sprint, Olympic, and Half distance Triathlons, Aquabike, Swim and Relay events, this USA Triathlon sanctioned event promises heart-pounding excitement from start to the finish.