KHF's First-Ever People's Choice Award Winners

KHF's First-Ever People's Choice Award Winners

KHF''s First-Ever People''s Choice Award Winners

By Barbara Day

Fittest CEO - Larry Benz, KORT

Larry is the CEO of KORT, a physical rehabilitation company. He began his career as physical therapist in the Army and eventually started a physical therapy company in Elizabethtown with his wife, Patty. The two-person operation has grown to include 28 outpatient physical and occupational therapy and sports and industrial clinics throughout Kentucky and Southern Indiana.

Larry, a runner since the 1980s, has completed numerous marathons, including Boston, Chicago and San Diego. His daily routine includes an early morning four-to-five-mile run; a low-fat diet focusing on moderate protein and carbohydrates; and a commitment to rest seven to eight hours per day. Larry challenges his staff to work out and find a fitness routine tailored to meet their needs.

Larry and Patty have three children.

Fittest Worksite - Texas Roadhouse

Under the direction of GJ Hart, president of Texas Roadhouse, the employees are encouraged to embrace an active lifestyle. GJ is convinced that a fit employee is a happier, more productive employee.

Texas Roadhouse employees have access to an on-campus fitness room on the first floor of the corporate offices. GJ hand-selected the state-of-the art equipment and arranged for a personal trainer to set up personalized fitness regimens.

Texas Roadhouse does regular health screenings and helps employees establish fitness goals. GJ started a weight-loss contest out in the field; it began with managers and now includes employees in all of the stores in 32 states. The employees have embraced the program and many have improved their lives by becoming more fit.

Fittest Mother - Melissa Welch

Emergency room physician Melissa Welch, M.D., finds that working out helps her to maintain balance in her life. From the time she enters the E.R. at Norton Hospital until her shift is over, she''s on the go and making tough decisions.

Melissa plans to run her first marathon next January in Orlando, FL. Whether she''s training for a mountain climb or a triathlon/duathlon, fitness is a priority. But time spent with her kids in equally important. Melissa and her husband Jerry, also an E.R. physician, work swing shifts so they can be available to spend time with their two younger children, Sydney and Jack. Their oldest son, David, is in college. The kids don''t slow the couple down. In fact, both of the younger kids have spent many hours hiking with their parents. The Welches think it is important to lead by example.

Fittest Father - Mike McShane

Masters cyclist and co-captain of the Texas Roadhouse cycling team, Mike McShane works two jobs, trains for cycling competitions and is a father of two. He helps coach his children in their sporting endeavors, and his son, Ian, recently won his first BMX race with Mike''s encouragement and guidance.

Mike excelled at racing mountain bikes in the early 80s, but when he was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, he switched to road racing. Mike is Texas Roadhouse''s "ace in the hole" for the Masters races. Curtis Tolson said, "If Mike is there, there isn''t reason to worry," because Mike has the smarts and experience to put himself in the right place at the right time. While Mike has his share of wins, it is all about the team and he will do whatever it takes for the team.

Fittest Television Celebrity - Kirby Adams

It''s no secret, Kirby Adams, consumer reporter for WHAS-TV, is a competitive athlete. She runs, competes in duathlons and weight trains. She has run marathons, climbed mountains and competed in the Olympic Trials as a cyclist.

But Kirby''s real claim to fame has been role modeling when training non-runner/walkers to compete in the triple crown of running over the past nine years. Kirby has provided inspiration to hundreds of first-time runners and walkers who were a part of the Louisville Tonight Live and later the WHAS-TV miniMarathon teams.

Kirby and her husband have two daughters. As a full-time working mom, she has an active and very full life. She is a great role model for her daughters and other women.

Fittest Grandmother - Bernice Martin

Surely there could not be a grandmother who''s more fit than 70-year-old Bernice Martin, who is fondly called "Nana" by her 21 grandchildren. These children have grown up with her love and spirited energy and are stronger and more adventurous because of her example.

Bernice began running at age 43 and has completed a variety of races, from 5K to marathons (including New York). She ran the Pikes Peak Ascent with a grandson (13.1 miles straight up to 14,110 feet). Most recently, Bernice was the only American to bring home a gold medal in the Duathlon World Championships. Bernice still works full time in a family business in addition to her impressive training schedule.

Fittest Grandfather - Phil Jones

Phil Jones started his running career in high school where he ran cross-country and track and has been running in local races since 1970. He has three grown children who all swim, bike, run, ski and golf. Phil''s granddaughter is currently taking swimming lessons and wants to become a "tri" girl.

Phil joined Cherokee Road Runners in 1975 and was president in 1985. From 1987 to 1990, while living in West Virginia, he raced on a team called the Vellos. He started doing triathlons and duathlons in 1990 and now competes in at least 25 per year. To date, he has participated in over 25 half Ironman triathlons.

In addition to owning a UPS store, dabbling in real estate and training, Phil spends a fair amount time volunteering. Through the years, he has been president of the Louisville Landsharks and race director for the Louisville Marathon and half marathon.

Best Female HealthFitness Success Story - Nancy Moody

An athlete since her younger days, playing basketball and running track at Doss High School followed by basketball at Spalding University; Nancy Moody now participates in marathons and triathlons. She and her husband, Mike, have two children.

Fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, as well as for breast cancer, a hemophilia organization and needy families, keeps Nancy busy. She is also a room mother and volunteer at her children''s school and a Girl Scout leader.

At age 39, Nancy was diagnosed with colon cancer. Eighteen inches of her colon had to be removed as a result. Nancy faced six months of chemotherapy but was often found at the spinning classes at the Northeast YMCA. It has been 4 1/2 years since Nancy was diagnosed and she looks like the picture of health. Nancy lives life to the fullest and is truly an inspiration to all who know her.

Best Male HealthFitness Success Story - Tommy Clark

Tommy Clark is truly an amazing person and athlete. He was badly burned as a child and has scars over much of his upper body, including some that took away the use of many of his fingers.

WHAS news anchor Rachel Platt says, "I have worked with Tommy over the years - 10 to be exact - and have been overwhelmed by the challenges he''s faced in life and how he has overcome them."

Tommy is the floor producer for WHAS-TV''s Good Morning Kentuckiana. When the show is over, Tommy is off to his day job with the city where he helps disabled people. Tommy is a runner and a cyclist. Cycling does not come easy for him because of the scarring on his hands. In good weather, Tommy rides his bike to work. Last year he participated two of the KHF duathlons and also ran the Chicago Marathon.

Best Female Runner - Jeanne Olash

Jeanne Olash has been a runner for more than 20 years. She and her husband, Bart, have three children. A nurse by profession, she is currently a stay-at-home mom.

Role modeling and giving back to the community is important to Jeanne. She has helped coach grade-school cross-country at Holy Spirit for four years. And, last year she assisted at St. Francis of Assisi.

Some of her running accomplishments include a 3rd place finish in Louisville''s miniMarathon; two 1st place finishes in the USATF Masters Cross-Country Championships: a 2:56 marathon at age 43; and two 1st master finishes at the Indianapolis 500 Festival Half Marathon. In 2004: Run to the Sun, 2nd place female; City Run, 5th place female; Indianapolis 500 Festival Half Marathon, 15th female and 2nd Master (field of 30,000); Paddlewheel Classic 10K, 3rd female; Celebrating Women 5K, 8th place overall and 1st master; and Papa Johns 10-miler, 6 th place female (one of her fastest 10-mile races ever at 1:02:18).

Best Male Runner - Jimmy Hearld

Jimmy Hearld ran track and cross country, both indoor and outdoor, for Southeast Missouri University. He was a 12-time All-American and won the NCAA in the 5K. He started competing in marathons when in his 30s, and has qualified for the Worlds Championship in Paris.

In February, Jimmy completed his fastest marathon with a time of 2:12:50, which qualified him for the Olympic Marathon Trials. Unfortunately, an injury kept him from competing in the trials. Jimmy said the injury "felt like a punch in the gut" and that in four years he will not be able to keep up the pace so he will probably change his training strategy.

He had been consistently running 100 miles+ per week. The good news is, he''s overcome his injury and is training for his next conquest - the Twin Cities Marathon in October.

Best Female Masters Runner - Brenda Gutmann

Since becoming a Masters runner, Brenda Gutmann has shifted her focus from running short and fast events to ultra endurance events (26+). In 2001, Brenda was the overall winner of the Howl at the Moon, running 44.84 miles in the eight-hour run in Danville, Illinois. That same year she finished 5 th at the United States Track and Field 24-Hour Championships, running 104 miles. In addition, Brenda completed the Leadville 100-Miler in 29:41:29. It is the oldest and most difficult 100-mile run in the Colorado Rockies and includes four massive climbs.

Brenda is also an accomplished cyclist. She has ridden across Iowa eight times and across the states of Georgia and Virginia.

Brenda teaches physics, biology and earth science at Borden High School.

Best Male Masters Runner - Joe Nail

Joe Nail is associate professor at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College . He is president of the Elizabethtown College Lions Club and serves on numerous committees that focus on community activities that include distance education. He is also race director for the Lions 5K race held in November in Elizabethtown.

Joe is married and has two daughters, ages 25 and 4, as well as two grandchildren. He has been running for 12 years, cycling for 30, and is a member of USA Triathlon, USA Track and Field, and the Victory Athletic Club .

In 2003, Joe placed 3 rd overall at the Mobile Half Marathon and had three top-10 finishes at the KHF duathlons. In 2004, Joe placed 5 th , 2 nd and 2 nd respectively in the Triple Crown races in his age group. He ran the Boston Marathon this year in April. He combines running, cycling and aerobics. To fit training into his busy schedule, Joe often gets up at 4 a.m. and sometimes works out again in the afternoon.

Best Personal Trainer - Daniel Barnett

Daniel Barnett has a degree in exercise science from the University of Louisville and is a certified strength and conditioning coach. He is the fitness instructor for the Louisville Police Department.

One of his clients, Jeanne Mahan, had undergone a hip replacement, an osteotomy of the femur and finally a bone graft. She was non-weight bearing for 22 months. "I called Daniel, and he went and priced weights, bands, balls and anything else he thought I needed and he came over three times per week to work out with me." Prior to the surgeries, Jeanne had gone to the gym to work out.

"He always has something different for his clients to do. My body fat is at 12 percent, which is the lowest it''s ever been and I am stronger than I have ever been. I am fully recovered and getting ready for another hip replacement. But I owe my recovery of my surgeries and the shape I am in today to Daniel Barnett."

Best Female Cyclist - Tracy Huber

Tracy Huber is a 43-year-old single mother of two daughters. She''s a nurse case manager who medically manages workers'' compensation claims. Tracy started running competitively in 1979 while in college. In 2002, she quit running because of severe arthritis in her hip and eventually had surgery. Her surgeon told she should never run again. After 10 weeks on crutches, she started cycling to maintain her fitness.

Tracy''s first race was in August 2003. In October 2003, she enlisted the help of cycling coach Curtis Tolson to hone her skills. She''s in her second year of racing and has been winning road races by wide margins.

Tracy recently won a race in Whitehouse, TN by 11 minutes over the second place finisher. In addition, Tracy placed first before members of the nationally ranked women''s team in Chattanooga, TN. And, she finished the Men''s 40+ DaVinci Road Race in Martinsburg, IN before many of the male participants. The true test will be this summer''s Masters National Road Race Championships. Tracy will participate in the road race, time trial and criterium.

Best Male Cyclist - Bob Bobrow

From Top Gun Naval Flight Officer and Navy Commendation Medal to Naval Officer of the Year and graduating magna cum laude from U of L''s Law School, Bob Bobrow has an impressive background. He started cycling in 1981 and was on the U.S. Military World Championship Team in 1990. Locally he''s district champion in KY, KY-IN, and VA. He has had several top-10 results at Masters Road and Cyclocross Nationals.

Bob has been riding for Texas Roadhouse/Sam Swope/Roark for seven years and is one of the team''s captains. Married to Marla for 20 years, they have a 3-year-old son. Bob is an attorney with Boehl Stopher & Graves.

According to one source, "Not only is Bob is a fierce competitor, but he is a leader . Bob is a powerhouse . In this race he was the oldest competitor and he got into a break with the youngest in the race, Louisville''s own Jason Sumner . As they were coming into the last lap Jason asked Bob, ''You wouldn''t by any chance let me win, would you?'' Politely Bob answered, ''Jason, you''ve got a lots of years and a lot finishes ahead of you. You''ll win plenty.'' With that said, he put the young guy away at the finish."

Best Male Masters Cyclist - Curtis Tolson

Curtis Tolson has been racing bicycles since he was 16. He has been an Elite Rider of the Year at the Major Taylor Velodrome 10 times since 1989. He''s an 11-time Masters National Track champion and 5-time Elite Track National Silver Medalist. Curtis placed third in the 2003 Pan-Am/World Trials in 2003.

Curtis is married and has three children. He also works full time in the insurance industry.

Curtis is the manager of the Texas Roadhouse Cycling Team - one of the most successful teams in the Midwest. He spends most weekends from March through September racing with the team. Curtis was hoping to make the Olympics this year but instead is taking some time off to heal a swollen scapula and broken collarbone as a result of an accident several months ago. Despite having surgery, he was back on his trainer as soon as he was home from the hospital. Curtis is planning on making the World Track Championships in September.

Fittest Female Coach - Debra Moore

Debra Moore is the head boys'' and girls'' cross country coach for DuPont Manual High School. She is also the assistant track coach for boys'' and girls'' Manual distance runners. In 2003, the girls'' team finished 3 rd in the state and the boys team finished 10 th .

Debra has participated in 24-hour races, won the KY 50-miler three times, competed in the Eco-Challenge in British Columbia and completed numerous 100-mile races. In 2004, Debra and Liz Jennison finished 8 th place in the women''s division in the 6 th World Rogaining Championships on May 8 in the White Mountains in eastern Arizona.

During the last three years, Debra has put most of her energy into coaching. She incorporates a regimen of hard workouts using the latest coaching methods, strength training, cross training, injury prevention, proper nutrition and rest. She wants her athletes to be successful in life, in the classroom and in their sport. In 2003, five members of her cross-country team were National Merit Semi-Finalists, one member had a perfect SAT score and another had a perfect ACT score.

Debra also does personal training and is certified to teach Pilates and strength training. She is married and has one son and two grandchildren.

Fittest Male Coach - Curtis Tolson

After years of racing bicycles, Curtis Tolson added "coach" to his resume. He currently coaches for Wenzel Coaching and one of his local clients is People''s Choice Recipient for Best Female Cyclist, Tracy Huber. Curtis specializes in endurance track events, all levels of road racing, criterium racing, field sprinting and elite development, both road and track. In addition, he has been instrumental in starting a local junior cycling team.

"I have been fortunate to have Curtis as my personal coach since October, 2003," said Tracy. "He''s been incredibly helpful to me from both a physical and mental standpoint. I have learned volumes from him in a short period of time . We spend a lot of time training together and he has always been very supportive, offering kind words when I have not done well and constructive criticism when necessary. Curtis has a heart of gold, is a true, hardworking athlete and person."

Best Female Tennis Player - Jaimie Fielding McRae

Jaimie Fielding McRae has played tennis since the age of 10. Both of her parents were tennis coaches. She attended University of Michigan on a full tennis scholarship and still holds the No. 2 spot for the most singles wins in Michigan women''s tennis history.

Jaimie is Presentation Academy''s tennis coach. According to one of her team members, Mary Luke Noonan, "Coach McRae provides just the model we need to pay attention to fitness and be reminded to always push ourselves. She ran the Chicago marathon in 2002 and we all watched her train and succeed . Coach McRae is committed to fitness in all its components, especially nutrition. She seems to understand that being a teenager and dealing with body image is hard and she constantly talks with us about being strong women who are healthy and who are comfortable with our bodies. That''s a message that we need to hear and she delivers it well by her example . We see that being fit is the best way to grow into our college years and the adult years to come. Even when we graduate, we will remember Coach McRae''s commitment to her own fitness and her efforts to help us attain that goal!"

Best Female Swimmer - Abby MacGregor

At 15, Abby MacGregor was one of the youngest to qualify for the U.S Olympic Team Trials in Long Beach, California. She started her swimming career on the Plainview Swim Team and will be a junior at Sacred Heart Academy this year. Abby won the 2004 state high school championship in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:04:85).

According to her coach, Michael Essig, "Abby is a very strong swimmer and she''s got a lot of room for improvement. 2008 might be the year of the Olympics for Abby." Abby is a fierce competitor and her interest is to be the best she can be.

Best Female Masters Swimmer - Mary Jane Mullins

Seventy-three-year-old Mary Jane Mullins has been swimming competitively for over 21 years on the Lakeside Masters Swim Team. She started swimming when she was 50 and is still at it. In 2003, she was ranked Top Ten in the nation in three events - 100-Meter Backstroke Short Course, 200-Meter Individual Medley Long Course, and 200-Yard Individual Medley Short Course. She finished third in the 50- and 100-yard Backstroke, fourth in the 100-yard Individual Medley and fifth in the 200-yard Backstroke and 200 Individual Medley at the United States Masters Short Course Championships in April.

The mother of four and grandmother of 11 lives in Louisville part time and in Cold Springs, Florida part time. Since MJ retired from teaching English at University of Louisville a couple of years ago, she''s been snowshoeing in Washington State with her granddaughter, has done triathlons, walked in the KDF miniMarathon and the Chicago Marathon. In July, she spent seven days hiking 79 miles throughout Scotland.

Best Male Masters Swimmer - Jerrod Kappler

Former Texas A & M swimmer Jerrod Kappler is still setting records, now as a Masters swimmer. Jerrod, a design engineer at GE, entered the world of Masters swimming when he moved to Louisville in 2000.

He started swimming at age 14 and was two-time Florida High State Champion. As collegiate athlete, Jerrod racked up many awards of distinction, including 14-time All-American for Division 1 and five-time Big 12 Conference Champion. He competed in the 1999 Pan American Games, placing 5 th in the 50-Free Style Long Course.

Jerrod swims with the Crescent Hill Masters program and holds two United States Masters Swimming National Records in the 50-Meter Freestyle, both long course and short course (age 19-24). In addition, he was ranked in the top ten in the nation in four events in 2003 (50- & 100-yard Free and 50- & 100-yard Butterfly).

Jerrod, who is married, has a master''s in engineering from Purdue University; he will complete an MBA from Indiana University in August and a third master''s in finance from IU in February 2005.

Best Female Triathlete - Nancy McElwain

Lawyer, exercise physiologist, coach, competitor - Nancy McElwain does it all. She competed in her first triathlon in 1998 and was instantly hooked. Currently, Nancy is a world champion triathlete, having won her age group and a gold medal at ITU World Long Distance Triathlon Championships in Sweden. Nancy has won many age group triathlon awards. She also participated in a Race Across America Team (RAM) where her team placed first.

Not only does Nancy compete, she recently stepped back from the practice of law to pursue a career as a triathlon coach. She owns and operates Train Smart, L.L.C.

Best Male Triathlete - Bill Eisner

Bill Eisner competed in his first triathlon when he was 18. He showed up in soccer pants and borrowed a bike. The 1/2-mile swim took him 45 minutes. After 13 years of competing, Bill has finished five Ironman distance races and countless half Ironmans, sprints and Olympic distance races.

Bill, a physical therapist with KORT, hired a coach in 2002. In Ironman Florida, Bill was 90 seconds away from an age-group-qualifier spot in Hawaii. In 2003, Bill qualified for Ironman Hawaii after finishing 42 nd overall in a time of 9:23:58. Bill''s day begins at 4:30 a.m. with a swim, run or ride. After a full day of work, he either bikes or runs.

In January, Bill and his wife, Beth, had a son. Bill has been a volunteer coach for the Team in Training Triathlon as well as a volunteer for the E.P. Tom Sawyer Triathlon. He has used his PT skills to staff booths for both medical and post-race massage at many of the local races (often after competing in the race himself).

Best Female Masters Triathlete - Cheryl McGinnis

Cheryl McGinnis was a late bloomer, you might say. As a mother of two sons she returned to college where she ran track at Centre College. In 1993, she was named Kentucky''s NCAA Woman of the Year and National Inspirational Athlete of the Year in 1994. She has competed in over 37 marathons, including Boston and New York. Cheryl won the Blue Angel Marathon in 2001. In 2004, she won a silver medal in the World Triathlon International Distance Championships in Portugal and a silver medal in the World Duathlon Championships in Belgium three weeks later in 50+ age group.

Cheryl is the owner of 2nd Wind, where she coaches runners, bikers, swimmers and triathletes, focusing on the physical and mental aspects of training. She is the co-owner of RESOLUTIONS, a motivational wellness company that guides individuals toward leading happier and healthier lives, beginning with introspection and goal setting. Cheryl is also a certified personal fitness specialist, spinning instructor and the Runner''s Path columnist for KHF.

Barbara Day , M.S., R.D., C.N., is the publisher and nutrition editor of KHF. She is the former sports nutrition consultant to the University of Louisville Athletic Department and the United States Navy SEALs. Barbara is also the author of Fast Facts on Fast Food For Fast People (ISBN 0-9631538-6-2) and High Energy Eating Sports Nutrition Workbook for Active People (ISBN 0-9631538-5-4). In addition, Barbara has a private practice specializing in sports nutrition, has a weekly health & fitness radio show on WKJK 1080 AM and is the nutrition/recovery editor for Performance Volleyball Conditioning. Barbara serves on the Board of The Mint Jubilee, Special Olympics Kentucky, the Louisville Youth Training Center and Fit Louisville and is a member of Greater Louisville, Inc. and NAWBO.



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