Team in Training looks to recruit participants

Published 6:58 pm Monday, May 11, 2009

Coach Geoffrey Gartman wasn’t a swimmer when he started competing in triathlons, but now he coaches participants. Garman became a Team In Training coach by proxy.

He originally offered to help a friend and his own triathlon coach train newcomers to the sport. Before he knew it he was a full-fledged head coach training people to compete.

“I had been to many races and had seen all these purple jerseys,” Gartman said. “So, I thought it would be a great way to help people reach the activity side of their goal. For many people this is a goal they may have never thought possible.”

Team In Training hopes to recruit more participants through an information session Tuesday, May 12 at 6 at the North Shelby Library. If you miss that meeting, you can also catch one May 19 at 6 p.m. at Homewood Public Library.

Team In Training offers two triathlons and two marathons for participants to choose from. Competitors can take part in the Nation’s Triathlon in Washington, D.C., the Brett Robinson Alabama Coastal Triathlon in Gulf Shores, the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Fransisco, Calif. or the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C.

There are a variety of reasons people join.

Some have seen family affected by blood cancer, others want to run a marathon for the first time, but everyone walks away different, said Campaign manager Cindy Walton.

“It really is a life-changing event,” Walton said. “Not only are you reaching a milestone personally, but you are helping us raise money to find a cure.”

Walton said the overall goal of course is to find a cure by providing money for research. Funds raised also provide financial aid to patients.

Participants train with coaches and team once a week. Coaches also provide each person with a training schedule to keep them on track.

This time of year the training process is even brought to Shelby County. Triathlon competitors train inside Oak Mountain State Park where they can easily run, bike and swim long distances.

“Oak Mountain is a really great place to train for something like this … it’s such a safe and beautiful place,” Gartman said.

The Nation’s Triathlon is an Olympic distance race. It calls for the participant to swim 1,500 meters, bike 25 meters and run 6.2 meters. The Alabama Coastal race includes both an Olympic and Sprint distance race. The Sprint distance is half as long.

“The most rewarding thing for me is simply seeing everyone I’m coaching reach whatever goal they are seeking,” Gartman said. “They all want to cross the finish line, but we try to set a more tangible goal like running the marathon in a particular amount of time.”