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Three of the most unique triathlete teams in history will compete against one another in the annual Scoggins Valley Sprint Triathlon at Hagg Lake outside Forest Grove, Oregon on Saturday, September 5th, 2009 at 8:00 AM.
The teams are part of “Truckers to Triathletes”, 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 Foundation.
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 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 has lost nearly 50 pounds since be began working with Harris in late April 2009. This triathlon marks his fourth 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.
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 will go head-to-head with his team this Saturday.
Two of the three teams competing Saturday will consist of local freight employees and truck drivers. Making this event even more special are Schneidewind’s two sons, Daniel (16), David (23) and Coach Harris will be out on the course competing as a third team and cheering him on. “I am so proud of my dad for making this decision to get fit and be around for us a long time.” said 23-year-old David Schniedewind.
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 Certified Wellness Coach and Personal Trainer, says he is approached almost daily by truckers who want to be part of a triathlon team next year. Additional teams are being formed to compete in the June 2010 Blue Lake Sprint Triathlon. Service Center Manager Tom Waltz plans to compete in the swimming leg for the team next year; others are following his lead.