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
This is my fifth year on staff of the Grand Rapids Tri. In 2013 it was my first triathlon as an athlete and it’s still my favorite course. Up until this year I’ve been a Sprint distance triathlete, but I’m changing my game up a bit as I work towards earning the West MI Endurance Award this year. After months of training for my first 70.3, I have a whole new appreciate for the athletes who do longer distances. I’ll be looking forward to crossing that finish line. When not working on organizing triathlons throughout the year, I’m busy organizing the lives of my three sons (10, 15, 15) and enjoying adventures with my husband of 23 years.
Courtney Babcock // Aid Station Champion
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. I am excited to be back for another year to meeting the awesome athletes and work with our outstanding volunteers to put on a best-in-class event.
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 6th 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 18 years, a 12 and 9 year old daughters and a 6 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 // Finish Line Food Champion
I was introduced to the triathlon world when my son Andy participated in his first race. 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.
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.
Erika Fryling // 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.
Justice Potman // Public Relations Champion
I recently earned my undergraduate degree in Marketing from Davenport University, and am excited to join the team. Throughout my college career, I worked as a Student Life Event Coordinator, and Alumni & Marketing Assistant for Davenport. I love to stay active, and did so throughout college playing D3 Ice Hockey. I enjoys telling stories through photography, video production, graphic design, and music. Although relatively new to triathlon, I am looking forward to experiencing and discovering more about the amazing sport!
Rocky Babcock // Road Closure Champion
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.
Josh Janowiak // Run Coordinator Champion
I grew up swimming, biking and running so I love the sport of triathlon. I’m generally a recreational racer competing in occasional running, biking and triathlon events. Since joining the GR Tri Team last year, I became inspired to up my game and get a little more serious about my health, training and competition. This year I plan on earning the Aim High Endurance Award by participating in the River Run, Michigan Titanium Triathlon & The Grand Rapids Marathon. I may even attempt the full Ironman Triathlon this year. When I’m not outside playing, I’m searching for real estate investment opportunities with my awesome wife and promoting health, happiness and family at Sandy Pines Recreational Community.
Amy Larson // Set Up/Tear Down Support Co-Champion
In 2013 after being a long time swimmer, my sister and friend told me I should try a triathlon with them – I did, and I was hooked. The next year I was offered to be sponsored athlete by TriToFinish, at that point my life changed and I started to meet new friends that would last forever in this sport. I tend to set high goals for myself, between that time and now I completed ‘Escape from Alcatraz’ Triathlon out in California, swam across the Mackinaw Straights, did my first ultra-marathon swim (9.2miles) down in Chattanooga, and finished the GR half, MiTi full aqua bike and a half ironman. This year I choose to take step back from triathlons, and focus on my swimming. I plan to swim around Charleston this fall (12mi), and swim around NYC (28mi) next summer all to prepare for my ultimate goal – swim across Lake Michigan in 2020. I have an amazing group of friends who love this sport right here in West Michigan and decided volunteering would be the best way to give back and still be a part of all the fun!
Ben Stuart // Set Up/Tear Down Support Co-Champion
My love for endurance sports began as a runner & expanded quickly. Since starting, I’ve competed in 5k’s, Marathons, sprints & Iron Distance races. I hope I can bring experience to my role and make it a great day for everyone competing! I started racing to be part of a competition, but I learned what really makes racing great, the athletes. We’re supportive and encouraging. It doesn’t matter if it’s mid-race or standing around post-race; a shout of encouragement, high five or big sweaty hug are usually only a step away. At days end we all know the hard work and dedication it took just getting to the start line, making race day one huge 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.
Courtney Smith // Sponsorship Director
Growing up in Madison, WI, I’ve always been captivated as a volunteer by the energy found at IMWI. Running marathons, and being active my entire life, the sport of triathlon has always inspired me. When I moved to GR last year, stars aligned, and I got to join the GR Tri Staff as the Sponsorship Coordinator. I enjoy working throughout the year to connect amazing sponsors with a great group of athletes. I have never competed in a triathlon…until now! The 2018 GR Tri will be my first, and I’m excited to conquer the Sprint Distance.
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. 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 fifth 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!
Bill Ott // Technical Support Champion
After getting hooked on the gateway drug of a 5k in my mid-thirties, I continued my downward spiral, experimenting with events from mud runs through a Half Iron triathlon, finally settling on my fix of choice, the ultramarathon. I’m the unusual triathlete who enjoys the swim and run, but has a general loathing for the bike. I’ll need to get over that before tackling a Full some day. After my early morning runs, I also enjoy frying bacon shirtless and narrating life to my wife’s Facebook audience.
Jane Garrett // Transition/Security Champion
I have been doing triathlons since 2009 and have competed in the Grand Rapids Tri every year since it originated. I have completed 4 half ironman distance races, including the Grand Rapids 70.3 two times. I love the race here in Grand Rapids, it has always been a favorite of mine. I am excited to be on the volunteer side of the race this year, it will give me a chance to share my knowledge of triathlon with others. When I am not racing I am spending time with my two children, Jack and Molly, who keep me very busy with their sports of hockey and volleyball. I have been a teacher for 21 years and enjoy sharing my racing experience with them.
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!
Kari Stuart // Women In Tri Champion
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 GR 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 Mi Titanium and GR Triathlon. I am thrilled to be a part of the team and support women in this great sport!