When it comes to setting a good example for students, two Byron Center principals and a Board of Education member are making an ironclad commitment.
Their goal is to raise $25,000 for three charities:
- Young Life Southwest Michigan, an organization that connects caring adults with high school students. Money raised would go toward a scholarship fund to pay for teenagers to attend camp.
- Hand2Hand Ministries, which provides 190 Byron Center kindergarten through eighth-grade students with backpacks filled with nourishing food for the weekend. It was started in the school district by Joseph’s wife, Jodi Joseph.
- Dynamite Dogs, a 10-week running program for first through sixth graders in Byron Center that runs from March through May, culminating in a 5K run.
Striving for the Impossible
The school leaders say their endeavor parallels with the missions of the charities they have chosen to support. “If you think about the history of Ironman, it was originally thought to be humanly impossible,” Joseph said.
Eliminating hunger is also thought to be undoable. Connecting high school students in positive relationships with adults and getting students committed to fitness are also huge challenges, he said. But big goals can be achieved through a plan, belief in oneself and community support, he said.
Training Sessions and Mile Logs
So what does it take to prepare for an Ironman?
The training schedule begins at eight hours a week, building up to 20 hours.
Joseph, 37, will be attempting his first full Ironman. He has completed a half-Ironman and about 15 triathlons. He is involved in Adventure racing, a multi-sport race including mountain biking, kayaking and running. He competed with Trout in the Adventure Race National Championships in October.“As I get older, it’s become more about how can I use this hobby of mine to do good for other people,” Trout said. “It becomes an inspiration for people, and it can be used to help kids in need and promote a life of fitness and health.
Pierson, 43, a business innovations leader for Amway, first sought fitness advice from Trout four years ago and began running “a mile a day in May.” He increased his distance over time and built up to several sprint-distance triathlons and the Grand Rapids Triathlon. Ironman is a big dream, he said.
“It seems a little insurmountable to me, but it’s a good goal,” Pierson said. “What I like about it is you can’t fake it, you can’t cheat it, you have to get up and do it every day. It’s not just an endurance race. The whole lead up to it, you have to keep on it,” he said.
“I’ve got to do this for the kids,” he added.
To support the BC Ironmen, watch the “BC Ironmen for BC Kids” video