Illinois firm participates in local triathlon

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Illinois firm Lauterbach & Amen recently took its corporate wellness policy to the next level by having staff members train for and complete a local triathlon.

Nine staff members from the approximately 150-person firm signed up for the Naperville Sprint Triathlon, held on Aug. 4. It was the first triathlon for seven of the staff members.

Participation in the triathlon stemmed from Lauterbach & Amen not having an official firm wellness program, according to partner Nathan Gaskill.

"When we offered free gym memberships to our team [over the last] five years, we found only three people took advantage of it consistently, which was underwhelming," said Gaskill. "I knew our past efforts at wellness at a firm level didn't yield big results, so I started brainstorming other ideas to help inspire people to be active. I kept coming back to my participation in triathlons over the past 15-plus years, so I started just talking to people at the office about the workouts and triathlons in general. Colleagues expressed interest in the sport, which made me wonder if encouraging a big goal like a group of us competing in a triathlon together would be worth exploring."

Gaskill added that he hired a triathlon coach two years ago and had benefited greatly from her expertise. He knew that if staff members had "access to that level of expert guidance, it would help them see how attainable participating in a race would be."

"All types of people can be triathletes," said Gaskill. "Every body type, every age, every level of ability is out there competing. People often picture ultra-fit athletes, which is just not the case. Anyone can be a triathlete. You just have to be committed to training — to trying."

All triathlon participants received a training program from Gaskill's coach and took additional swimming and spin lessons in order to prepare. "It was incredible to see this micro-community form at our firm," Gaskill said.

Overall, Gaskill saw the triathlon as a positive experience for staff members. He added that he is already planning another triathlon in 2020.

"I'm just really proud of this group," he said. "It's hard to say yes to something as seemingly formidable as a triathlon, to sign up [and] show up. This group put any excuses to the side and went out there and did it."

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