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Seven (7) of the most unique duathlon and triathlon relay teams in history will compete against one another in the annual Midsummer Sprint Triathlon at Blue Lake outside Forest Portland, Oregon on Sunday, August 1st, 2010 at 8:00 AM. Last year there were 3 teams.
The teams are part of “Truckers to Triathletes” www.truckerstotriathletes.com a new concept in fitness developed by George “Bud” Harris, PhD, a nationally recognized workplace wellness authority and past Chairman and Executive Director of the Oregon Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.
Truckers to Triathletes is an initiative designed to enable professional long-haul and city truck drivers – traditionally among the most sedentary workers – to move toward a healthy lifestyle by participating in triathlon and duathlon competitions as part of coworker teams. The benefits, according to Harris, are increased confidence and mental acuity, better health, increased productivity and reduced health care costs.
Participants in the program begin by training and competing on relay team of coworkers in one of the three elements of a full triathlon – swimming, bicycling or running. As they gain confidence and fitness they increase their performance to a level where they can compete in all three triathlon events.
In fact, long haul truck driver John Schniedewind lost nearly 50 pounds since be began working with Harris in late April 2009. This triathlon marks his fifth competition since his decision to adopt a more active and healthy lifestyle. After working twelve to fourteen hours a night as a long haul trucker, Schniedewind participated in organized bike spin classes, swam laps and hit the treadmill at the gym, then showered ate and slept. On weekends he would run, swim and bike longer distances with Harris at Hagg Lake.
In 2009 Schniedewind was so inspired after his first triathlon that he organized a relay team at his freight service center and challenged the cross-town freight service center to a challenge. Al Garcia, another student of Harris, accepted and his team went head-to-head. This year, many family members have joined in the competitive fun. Schniedewind’s two sons David (24) and Daniel (17) will be part of his team as will Coach Harris and his daughters Erika (22) and Elisia (18). In fact, three other husband and wife teams will compete including a freight terminal manager.
All 7 teams competing Saturday will consist of local freight employees, truck drivers and family members. “I am so proud of my dad for making this decision to get fit and be around for us a long time.” said 24-year-old David Schniedewind who also lost 50 lbs inspired by his dad training for his first triathlon last year.
The Truckers to Triathletes initiative was started by Harris after the June 2009 Blue Lake Triathlon where three truckers completed their first triathlon. Harris noted improvement in wellness, attitude, confidence and morale. The truckers’ wellness scores soared on health assessments and leaders were born. On any given Sunday, Truckers to Triathletes team members and their families can be found at Hagg Lake training, bonding and sharing inspiration. “It has become both training and a family outing.” said Schniedewind.
Harris, a Safety Engineer, Licensed Wellness Coach and Personal Trainer, says he is approached almost weekly, by the truckers he wellness coaches, who want to be part of a triathlon team. Additional teams are being formed to compete in the June 2011 Blue Lake Sprint Triathlon and a documentary is in progress and the movie trailer can be enjoyed at: www.truckerstotriathletes.com