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).
Courtney Babcock // Aid Station Champion
I have participated in organized races for over 5 years now, 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 my speed in college. I began participating in races as a motivation to continue running and training while transitioning into a career. 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 get more involved in the behind-the-scenes activities to help support the continued success of this race and meet other passionate people along the way.
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. This 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 Rider Coach and teaches basic and advanced courses through Fox Powersports and Grand Rapids Community College. This is Todd’s 5th 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 4th 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 5 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 pick up YOUR TRASH, Please “Give a Hoot don’t pollute”!!
I have a wife of 17 years, a 11 and 8 year old daughters and a 5 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.
Erika Dwyer // Merchandise Champion
I consider myself a well-rounded athlete and like to be active. I was a gymnast through high school and played a few other sports along the way. Now, I coach high school gymnastics in the winter and do CrossFit in my free time. When I moved back to Michigan a few years ago, I was excited to get involved in the Triathlon world by volunteering for both the Grand Rapids Triathlon and the Michigan Titanium to help out my cousins, the race directors. I have yet to do a Triathlon, but everyone keeps telling me I should. While it is on my bucket list..maybe next year. Through volunteering, I’ve gotten to know what a cool and crazy sport this is- meeting some amazing athletes along the way!
Eric Mentalewicz // Packet Pickup Champion
Due to a health issue in 2015, I decided to change my lifestyle and make an effort to 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 in 2016 and I decided to train for the GR Tri. That was my first triathlon and I have to say it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I instantly became hooked and plan to participate in many more in my lifetime. 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 very active children and I want to continue to set a good example for them and show them you can do anything you set your mind to.
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.
Josh Janowiak // Run Coordinator Champion
I grew up in the water in Manistee, MI and raced on our small town’s swim team throughout elementary and high school. I began mountain biking in high school and eventually moved out to Colorado & Oregon to tackle the mountains. All along the way I also ran for general health and well being. It wasn’t until a few years back when I moved back to Michigan that it dawned on me that I might enjoy competing in an event that featured three of my favorite disciplines. Five or six triathlons later (who’s counting?) I like to strategically schedule my summers so I’m always training for a running, biking and triathlon event. It always gives me the extra motivation to get out and play and push myself to the next level in all obstacles life presents. When I’m not outside playing I’m managing the marketing & member service departments at Sandy Pines Recreational Community and searching for real estate investment opportunities with my awesome wife.
Ben Stuart // Set Up/Tear Down Support Champion
My love for endurance sports began as a runner and expanded quickly. I’ve done well over 100 races since I began in 2002, over 15 marathons, 24-hour bike rides, bike tours and 5 Iron Distance Triathlons, including Ironman World Championships in Kona. I hope I can bring 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 what really makes racing great, the athletes. We’re a 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 hard work and dedication it takes just getting to the start line, making 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 // Kids Triathlon 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. 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.
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 conact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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 my life while playing D1 college softball. I found running to be an incredible stress relief from the demanding schedule of a college athlete. After college, I signed up for my first half marathon and was hooked. After competing in a few marathons and triathlons, I decided to go back to school to study sports management at Western Michigan University. I enjoy running for the charity A-T Children’s Project and am planning on conquering my first Half Ironman this summer!
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 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 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 DeWeerd // 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 have continued to stay active with bike rides, fun-themed races, long distance races and other triathlons. I got married last August to my best friend who encourages me to be my best and supports me in all my races. And we are excited to announce we are expecting our first child this fall!
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.