Andy Vidro // USAT Level 2 Certified Race Co Director
Andy is responsible for handling the technical side of the race ensuring all details are followed and sanctioning rules are adhered to. Andy entered the world of triathlon in 2008. He has competed in every distance from a super sprint to an Ironman. He feels that this sport unlike any other, gives people the power to obtain their goals and push their body and mind further than they ever thought. Andy is a small business owner in the construction industry and a property manager. Andy recently became a USA Triathlon Level 2 Certified Race Director.
Ann Vidro // CPA – Co Director // USAT Level 2 Certified Race Director
Enthusiastic and focused, Ann has a passion for the details and the drive to ensure each athlete has a positive experience during their race. She has participated in organized races since 1996, joined the triathlon world fives years ago and enjoys doing half marathons. Ann is a USA Triathlon Level 2 Certified Race Director.
A small business owner and resident in the Grand Rapids area for several years, Ann enjoys giving back to the local community in many ways. She sits on the Alumni Board for Davenport University, actively leads a women’s small group, recently held the position of Treasurer for a local non-profit, Grand Rapids Initiative for Leaders, and volunteers as the coordinator for the Priority Health Champions.
Lori Ott // Administrative Assistant
I became a runner in 2010. Running did a lot of great things for me, but I never had that passion about it like so many other runners. It is a sport that connects you to a lot of great people though and those people got me connected with volunteering for the GR Tri. I volunteered for my first race in 2012 and I absolutely knew by the end of the year that it was going to be me doing that the following year. I did my first triathlon at the GR Tri in 2013 and knew I wasn’t a runner. . .I was a triathlete. I absolutely fell in love with the swim even though I’d never been a swimmer before. Mainly I’m a sprint distance triathlete, but I quickly discovered most people hate the swim so when looking to put a relay team together you become the go to girl for the swim. Last year I took time to participate on a lot of triathlon relays and worked my way up to the half distance swim. Completing the half distance swim at Steelhead last year was one of my proudest accomplishments. This year I’ll complete my first Olympic distance. When not helping with the GR Tri or the MiTi, I spend my time watching my 12 year old twins be All-Star pitchers or I’m coaching my 7 year old’s soccer team and trying to keep up with him as he quickly becomes a much faster runner than I am or I’m providing support for my ultra-marathon running husband of 20 years. (Pictured here with GR Tri super volunteer, my youngest son Graydon who loves helping out on triathlons as much as I do).
Adam Baker // Aid Station Champion
I’ve been involved in the Grand Rapids Triathlon in several capacities every year since 2013 either volunteering or racing. I first got into triathlons after spectating at this race when my wife did her very first event in 2012. The atmosphere and crowd was absolutely electrifying. At that point, I knew I had to be involved in some capacity and grabbed a volunteer flyer on my way out. I even began training for my first triathlon soon afterwards. Since then, I’ve done just about every distance and race type from Half Iron triathlons to a 5k Zombie Dash and even competed in the Michigan State Games for wrestling in the masters-division taking home a silver medal. So, being active is now just a part of who I am for myself and to lead by example for my family. This year, I’m tackling my first marathon with hopes of competing my first Full Iron in 2017. I’m proud to continue to help and support our amazing triathlete community and allow others to fulfill their goals as well.
Jason Miller // Aid Station Support Champion
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 from 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.
Jim Vidro // Awards Champion
As I watched my sons and daughters-in-law compete in their first triathlons, I was really impressed with the attitudes of all of the participants. When Ann and Andy started organizing the GR Tri and MiTi, I just knew that I had to be involved! I continue to be amazed by triathletes and their commitment. My role in the tris has been just a natural for me as I spent over thirty years with Grand Rapids Public Schools. My involvement included coaching and acting as athletic director. These tris give me an opportunity to be around very big athletic events again. I love it!
Todd Bradford // Bike Coordinator/Moto-Patrol Champion
Todd Bradford is an avid cyclist with a passion for all things two wheeled. Between weekend rides and commuting to work on either his bike or his motorcycle, he often forgets what it’s like to drive a car during the summer months. He is a hard working family man, is active in his church and is a lifelong resident of the Grand Rapids area. Todd is a certified Motorcycle Safety Foundation RiderCoach and teaches basic and advanced courses through Grand Rapids Community College. This is Todd’s 4th 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 3rd year coordinating the bike course volunteers.
Tim Guikema // Environmental Restoration Champion
I have been involved in Triathlons since 2010. Starting off with a neighborhood Tri, Lech Lecha, cross the finish line and fell in love with this type of racing. I been with the GR Tri for 3 years and would not miss the opportunity to race/help out and be involved in this race. I have missed a few races due to injuries and an adoption, but now I am ready to race. I will be out on the race coarse competing in the ½ Aqua-Bike, when I get done I will be back helping anywhere possible.
I have a wife of 15 years, a 9 and 6 year old daughters and a 3 year son from Ethiopia. I do sales and production management for Summit Tree Service, a local tree company. I hope to someday finish a full Ironman distance.
Lonna Blair // Finish Line Champion
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! Not knowing how to swim, I took swimming lessons for 6 weeks and it took me seven months to finally get the hang of breathing and swim more than a ½ lap. My first triathlon was in September 2006 and thus began the addiction. Thereafter I’ve completed in several triathlon distances from sprint to Olympic to Half Ironman to Full Ironman and everything in between. 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 a lot about injuries – both receiving and avoiding – my body mechanics, training and nutrition. Most importantly, I’ve learned how important it is to give back – to the volunteers, to the participants and to the charities, and I’m happy to do this as a Champion with GR Tri.
Gail Vidro // Food and Finish Line Food Champion
I taught elementary children for 32 years in Lowell and then taught preschool at Forest Hills Presbyterian Church for 5 more years. I witnessed my first triathlon watching Andy participate. 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.
Marianne Maxim // Packet Pickup Co-Champion
After my children graduated high school I went been back to swimming and cycling in 2009. In 2010, I decided to try a sprint triathlon and was immediately addicted. Fall of 2011 a friend approach me and suggested I run a marathon. I have to admit my first reaction was to laugh at her. In 2012 I competed in many halves and a marathon. It shows what you put your mind to you can do. I got the idea I should compete in my first half iron man at Grand Rapids Tri. I was so impressed by the organization and friendliness of the volunteers. I knew I wanted to be part of something so awesome.
Andy Dauksts // Road Closure Champion
I never have actually ran a race or a TRI but I love to help out and volunteer when I can. I have been married to my wife Jenna for 5 years with a two year old son named Logan. I am a manager at a traffic control company and am also the head coach for Jenison varsity hockey. My sister Katie Belland and mom Barb have always asked me to help with races, the first one I helped with was the first GR Tri.
Chris George // Run Coordinator Champion
This is my fourth year on the GR Tri team and second year as the run champion. It’s always an inspiration to see all of the athletes giving it their all to achieve something so great. The sport of triathlon has been an extremely positive influence in my life and I feel very fortunate to be able to give back by helping out with the run portion of this fantastic event.
Ben Stuart // Set Up/Tear Down Support Champion
My love for endurance events began primarily as a runner and quickly expanded. I’ve done well over 100 races since I began in 2002, including 10 marathons, 3 Ironman races, 24 hour bike rides and 5 day bike tours. I hope I can bring a some experience to my role and make it a great day for everyone competing! While I started to be part of a competition, I quickly learned that what really makes racing great. The athletes, a most supportive and encouraging group of people! It doesn’t matter if it’s mid-race or standing around after the finish line; a shout of encouragement, high five or big sweaty hug are usually less than a step away. At the end of the day, we all know the struggles it takes just getting to the start line. That makes race day one great big celebration!
Jill Martinek // Signage (Bike Course) Champion
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 starting 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 // Signage (Run Course) Champion
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 children. 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. In the beginning, I needed the race date looming out there to keep me going back to the gym. Now that the habit’s established, I love training just for the sake of training, and most of it I enjoy OUTSIDE the gym. Race day is just a bonus. Besides the fitness goal, I also accomplished my other goal–not only did both my kids become triathletes, but my husband as well. It’s become something we do as a family. My husband also set the example for me by volunteering for the GR Tri in 2013 & 2014. Now it’s my turn to give back to one of the best races in Michigan. I’m so excited to be part of the team.
Jeff Jauch // Special Needs Champion
I simply love to help and encourage Challenged athletes and help families get active with their disabled children. I am the founder of Running with Chelsea, which is a charity that is helping families get the access to equipment that insurances don’t normally cover for their disabled children.
Don Goetcheus // Splash n Dash Champion
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, I swam with on the high school swim team, asked me to join him at a Master swim practice. While at practice, he mentioned a group that was getting together to transport handicapped individuals around at triathlons and he wanted me to be a part of the running leg. That was the beginning of My Team Triumph. My experience with My Team Triumph proved life changing, as I had been bitten by the triathlon bug. As a result, I have worked my way up to multiple Half-Ironman 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 Amerprise Financial Services. In the future, I plan to tackle the Full Ironman distance triathlon after my second boy is off to college.
Kari Stuart // Sponsorship Development Manager
The sport of triathlon found me in 2010. The training and preparation, excitement of race day, cheering of the crowd and the triumph of reaching a goal had me hooked. I now regularly compete in triathlon with the 2013 Mi Titanium being my first Half Iron distance event! My husband and I participate in many races throughout the state, and I have found that the endurance community we have here in Grand Rapids is unmatched. There’s a reason why GR was named the best city for triathlon, and it’s the amazing crowd support, enthusiastic athletes and awesome events like MiTitanium and GR Triathlon.
Health and community is a integral part of my life, and working for the Mi Titanium and GR Triathlon is a very natural fit! So, I am thrilled to be a part of the team. As both an athlete and a business owner, I see both sides of the sponsorship coin. I look forward to customizing sponsorship opportunities that give the business the maximum amount of exposure while also improving the athlete race experience. Let’s come up with a plan to help grow YOUR business by supporting the fastest growing sport in America – please contact me at email@example.com
Brian McLane // Supplies Champion
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 7 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. A few years ago ran my first 5k at the Pink Arrow Quiver and added in some fun runs like the Zombie Dash in 2013. This year my goal is to participate in more a few 10ks, working toward a 25k in 2015. I work at Priority Health in product development on consumer engaged health plans and fundamentally believe that staying in good shape and eating well is one of the keys to maintaining a good quality of life in the long run, pardon the pun.
This is my third year helping with the GRTri and I am looking forward to the event, getting the chance to see so many people succeed at a difficult goal is a reward in its self and makes the work for the event worthwhile.
Erin Kring // Swim Champion
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!
Molly McKinney // Transition/Security Champion
Running became apart of Molly’s life while in college playing Division 1 Softball. She decided that running was an incredible stress relief from the demanding schedule of a college athlete. After college, Molly signed up for her first half marathon and was hooked. After running a few marathons and triathlon, she decided to go back to school to earn a degree in sports management from Western Michigan University. Molly likes to run for a purpose with the A-T Children’s Project, teaches mathematics, and is a shoe geek at a local running store. She’s excited to gain some experience with planning triathlon and being part of the great event.
Chris Gates // Vendor EXPO Champion
As a young boy I remember watching my father compete in triathlons, cheering him on from the sidelines 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 or 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 Grand Rapids Tri Olympic Distance together. Last year we did the MiTi Half-Iron distance together, and this year we’ll complete the MiTi Full-Iron distance 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 for S. Abraham & Sons during the day and dabble in semi-professional photography on the side. I live in Grandville with my good friend Evan, who also participates in the triathlon events with my father and I.
Heather Gluszewski // VIP Champion
I began supporting my husband and 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’m currently a board member of Grand Rapids Sister Cities International, MI Women’s Foundation Women of Achievement & Courage, Spectrum Health Patient & Family Advisory Council, Rising Women Leaders Alumni, and Inforum WMI Council. I’ve also been involved with Athena, Junior Achievement, Gilda’s Club Red, American Cancer Society, YWCA and Women’s Resource Center. I live in Hudsonville, with my husband Christian, and our dog Hank who is a frequent spectator at the races as well.
Kari Olmsted // Volunteer Champion
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 am loving being involved with the Grand Rapids Triathlon!
Holly Buyze // Volunteer Recruitment Champion
In Spring 2012, I ran my first 5K. Since then I have had a runners high! I completed my first Sprint distance triathlon in June 2012 and competed in several other triathlons every year since. I competed in my first Olympic distance triathlon August 2015. I have continued to stay active with the Zoo-De-Mack bike ride, fun-themed races, and other triathlons. I have also ran a few half marathons, the 25K in the Riverbank run, and ran the GR marathon. The feeling of accomplishment after these races is what motivates me to keep going!
Jessica Fields // Web and Graphic Designer
I am a recent newlywed and senior designer at Kmotion Design. I’ve been a designer for about eight years and I absolutely love it. For the past 4 years, Kmotion Design has collaborated to design the Grand Rapids Triathlon brand. This includes the logo, website and other promotional material. This event is really great for the city of Grand Rapids. It’s also a huge responsibility to put on. A race this size takes many volunteers and hours of dedication to pull off, and we have a very dedicated team putting in the long hours working together to make this event great! It’s been amazing to be a part of a race that has grown so quickly and that has had such a positive impact on our community.
Katie VanderPloeg // Web and Graphic Designer
Katie is the founder/owner of Kmotion Design Inc. Katie has a wide range of expertise, which include website design, branding, front end web development, motion graphics and video post production. Katie loves to stretch her design skills in many areas, and is passionate about all areas of design. When Katie isn’t designing, you can bet she’s pursuing what she refers to as her “healthy addiction” – working out and living a healthy lifestyle. Her current passion is CrossFit. Another fun fact about Katie? She was on set at QVC with Tony Horton, promoting the workout video for P90X. Katie is married and has beautiful one year old daughter named Mila.