Team ReserveAid member profiles
In late 2010, an Ironman was the farthest thing from Scott’s thoughts. Having been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis a year earlier, he had been dealing with the issues of his condition with good success. However, after taking a drug so he could eat more fruits and vegetables, he had a violent adverse reaction – a drug that was supposed to help his condition put it into hyper-drive. Scott’s weight plummeted from 185lbs to 135lbs in a matter of weeks as his colon was destroyed and rendered incapable of absorbing any nutrients. There was no choice but to remove entire colon. After the fact, the doctors informed Scott just how dire situation was. He was told he was lucky to be alive. Scott went on to have two more surgeries to reconstruct his digestive tract and is now back to fighting weight.
After a rough 2010/11, Scott needed to do something big. He thinks an Ironman qualifies. Scott is competing in Ironman NYC to celebrate life and to raise money and awareness for a great cause. “I can’t think of anything greater than helping the families of our troops, they have sacrificed so much for our country,” Scott says. Scott lives in New Canaan, CT with his two greatest supporters, his wife Jackie and their daughter Sophia.
Paul was born in New Zealand and moved to Rye NY at the age of 10. He joined the Marine Corps in 1984 and moved to Westfield NJ after getting out of the Marines in 1989 where he currently lives with his wife Beth and 2 sons David and John.
After vowing to never run again once he left the Marines, Paul was able to keep that promise to himself for a full 18 years. After being forced to compete against his against his Sister in Law in the NJ State Tri, Paul realized he loved the sport and become addicted. He has raced in multiple sprint and olympic distance races and completed Lake Placid Ironman in 2010 and NYC Ironman last year. His oldest son has given him the nickname of the “abominable slowman” which only makes him try harder.
Paul was lucky enough to meet John & Jess a few years back as a member of the Central Jersey Tri Club and their passion for ReserveAid was infectious. He is honored to be supporting ReserveAid and the men and women who are currently serving our country. He personally knows the struggles that young Marines face on multiple overseas deployments. He is honored and is looking forward to competing in Ironman Lake Placid with these other athletes under the ReserveAid banner.
Ben played lacrosse in college at Duke University where he lettered for 4 years and served as team captain in 2004. Ben’s two brothers also played lacrosse at Duke.
Ben was motivated to sign up for his first half Ironman while lying in his bed the day after his second reconstructive hip surgery. Ben has been hooked to the sport since and participated in his first full Ironman race at the Ironman US Championships in New York City in August 2012. Ben is excited to swim in cleaner waters during Ironman Lake Placid.
Ben jumped at the chance to join Team ReserveAid. “A college teammate and good friend of mine was killed in Iraq in 2007. Since then I have raised money for the Lead The Way Fund which raises money for the families of Army Rangers who have been killed or disabled while fighting for this country. ReserveAid serves a very similar purpose and I will be honored to represent this team and our soliders at Lake Placid.”
Robbie strongly suspects that he may be the oldest and least athletic member of the Team.
Robbie made the terrible mistake this year of succumbing to John Withrow’s enthusiasm, energy, and basic good-heartedness and after supporting the Team for a number of years he finally caved in and joined.
Everything about the ReserveAid mission and focus resonates with him, and he appreciates the opportunity to support the families who are grappling with the tremendous burdens that have been placed upon them while serving their country.
He lives in Brooklyn with his two young girls and his wife, Valerie, whose grace and forgiveness he relies upon to not only find the time to train for endurance events, but in combination with her great beauty and love, pulls him across the finish line every time.
Matt Hein is a current Air Force Reserve Captain and full time MBA student at Boston College. He started his athlwtoc career as a lacrosse player and wrestler and moved into Triathlons in his mid 20′s. After completing a handful of sprint triathlons he was looking for his next challenge and decided an ironman would be the obvious next step. Matt discovered ReserveAid while training to deploy to Afganistn in the spring of 2012 and saw what a perfect fit it was. He’s looking to complete IMLP in 12 hrs and looks forward to making a difference for some of the men and women he has served with.
Tomasz has a couple Ironman and a few half IM experiences behind him and still trying to figure out how to make it hurt less and some day learn how to run. It all started when his wife decided to enter into her first Olympic Tri in 2009 before she even knew how to swim. Seeing someone close overcome incredible challenge is infectious and it didn’t take long for Tomasz to catch the SBR fever.
Tomasz says “I feel incredibly lucky and grateful for being able to do those races with my wife and friends. When an opportunity presented itself to give back and be able to raise funds for ReserverAid I didn’t hesitate. I benefited so much through this sport, met a lot of incredible people and learned so much about myself and now I hope I can help support the families of our troops who gave so much.”
Tomasz currently lives in Queens with his wife and 2 chihuahuas.
Brian Lee is a proud father of three boys and husband of fellow teammate Carolyn Lee. As a mediocre athlete pushing 40, Brian has completed the Chicago, New York and Boston marathons. 2010 was Brian’s first foray into triathlons at the intense encouragement of his friend John Withrow. After completing several Olympic and sprint distance triathlons, Withrow believed Brian was ready for the Ironman distance. Although he was still building the mental and physical endurance to complete 140.6 miles, the opportunity to support a charity as inspirational as Reserve Aid and to compete with the outstanding men and women on the team was one he could not pass up. In March he tore his left ACL in a skiing accident, but elected to postpone surgery until after the race. Brian completed IMLou in 12:37:53 and will be competing for ReserveAid in 2012 at the Patriot Half.
Brian is a former 727 pilot with Delta Air Lines. He currently resides in Larchmont, NY and is a High Yield bond salesman with Morgan Stanley.
Carolyn Lee is the perpetually exhausted mother of three boys ages 7, 6 and 2 and the wife of team member Brian Lee. When she is not negotiating homework or scheduling playdates she finds the time to train. An accomplished athlete, Carolyn has completed both the Chicago and New York marathons. Her first and longest distance triathlon the 2010 Nautica New York City Olympic. In 2010 she also placed third in her age group in both the Lake Warmaug and Dok N’ Soc sprint triathlons. After months of torturous debate whether or not to try and attempt the Ironman distance, Carolyn knew the chance to be a part of Team Reserve Aid was something she could not pass up. She finished IMLou in 2011! Carolyn believes strongly in the Reserve Aid mission and is aspiring to promote the charity while teaching her children if they are willing to work hard they will achieve their goals. In 2012, she will be competing for Team ReserveAid at the Patriot Half.
Carolyn is a former 737 pilot with Delta Air Lines and resides in Larchmont, NY.
Jonathan “Liebs” Lieberman overcame weighing 241 lbs, a pack-a-day smoking habit, and a lifelong fear of the water to become a 10x marathoner and 3x Ironman, ultimately lotterying into and successfully completing the 2011 Ironman World Championship at age 39. A devout believer in the Ironman mantra Anything Is Possible, Liebs still uses all things Ironman as a model for dealing with Life’s adversity, still considers himself a Clydesdale at heart, and still will always bet on the underdog to finish a race…especially when it is he himself.
Jonathan continues to be inspired by the love from his two sons Alex and Zach, as well as the unwavering support from his parents Arleen and Joel.
Evan Odim is a self described fitness junkie. Whether it’s basketball, soccer, boxing, or triathlons, he simply has to be involved in athletic competition.
Evan was fortunate enough to race along with his friends for Team ReserveAid at Ironman Louisville 2011, which he completed in 12:30:44. Ironman Lake Placid will be his second go at the 140.6 mile challenge and he’s excited compete with his teammates. His goals are simple: Raise awareness for ReserveAid and finish the race with a smile on his face. Cheering him along is his beautiful wife, Sarah, and his three children, Jamie, Joslyn, and EJ.
“Without struggle, there can be no progress.”
Tom, a brewer for Anheuser Busch resides in Colonia NJ with his wife Colette and sons Tommy III and Michael.
Tom got started 10 years ago in distance events. It began when a group of colleagues at work talked him into signing up for the NYC marathon. “It was the hardest thing I had ever done,” he said. “I’ll never do that again.” Well, 3 marathons later and after a severe calf injury Tom started to ride a bike to stay active. He also took swimming lessons two years ago in hopes of completing a triathlon. Just 10 yards into his first sprint tri, Tom got a mouthful of green pond water, hyperventilated, panicked, and began doing the doggie paddle and backstroke. “I’ll never do that again,” Tom said. One sprint, one olympic, and one half ironman later, Tom will be participating in the Lake Placid Ironman competition.
The training won’t be easy but is nothing compared to what families are going through with their spouses serving overseas. Hopefully through all my hard work and dedication I can show some appreciation to the men and women who serve our great country.
Thea is a full time tri nut so much so that she became a Total Immersion swim and USA Triathlon coach. She started competing in triathlons in 1998 with an all female sprint distance race. It was by far her worst (having done every wrong thing possible in one race) and the best experience ever! She was hooked and spent several years just doing sprints, olympic and then half ironmans. It took a certain Withrow pushing her over the edge to convinced her to do the Louisville Ironman for the team. There are times she know his ears are ringing because she swearing at him on the long runs. Thea finished Louisville with a 12:52 and is looking forward to surviving Lake Placid Ironman with the team. I can’t think of a better reason to compete than raising money for our military who do so much for us.
Gabriel Szerda is a former Olympic wrestler for Australia, who lives in New York City with his wife Julia and their little girl Sienna.
“Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” – Never one to shy away from a challenge Gab has recently embarked on conquering ultra endurance events such as Racing the Planet – Australia, Old Pueblo 50 miler and then Ironman Louisville in 2011. Gab recently placed 4th Place in the 155 mile Racing the Planet desert race across the sands of Jordan while proudly representing Team ReserveAid.
Jessica Withrow would sooner describe herself as a stay-at-home mom than as an athlete. Training for an Ironman means fitting workouts in around her two young boys’ preschool schedules, soccer practice, and swimming lessons. After having children and leaving full time work as an Occupational Therapist behind, Jess found herself searching for a hobby, but never had the time to take one up because she spent all of her free time at the gym.
When her husband, John, suggested that she join him and several friends for a local sprint distance triathlon, she eventually gave in and registered for the race even though it meant she’d have to learn how to swim! That one race was all it took – she was hooked, and had found her hobby. With no athletic background other than that of a “gym rat,” and one season of triathlon under her belt, Jess accepted the challenge to complete an Ironman for ReserveAid. When the training days get long and hot, she finds it helpful to keep in mind the sacrifices our troops make on a daily basis. Follow Jess’s training experience on her Blog at http://luckysevn.wordpress.com
Jess is eternally grateful to our troops and proud to represent Team ReserveAid.
John Withrow is a former All-American wrestler at the University of Pittsburgh who currently lives in Scotch Plains, NJ with his wife Jess and their two boys, JT and Luke.
As a Founding Member of Team ReserveAid, John has now finished 3 Ironmans with a PR time at IMFL in 2012 of 10:52:19. John has decided that he is tired of being a slow runner and made 2013 the year of the run! John is also done trying to just “keep moving” near the end of hard hot races, he now wants to keep moving “fast”. When John tried to recruit people to do IM Louville with him in 2011, most said he was crazy. Now that Team ReserveAid has had 35 Ironman Finishers and counting, it doesn’t seem so crazy anymore. The 140.6 mile distance is still an immense challenge, though, and the 140.6 miles July in Lake Placid might be held in 90 degrees weather with 90% humidity. John’s response to this is simple “It’s a lot hotter for our Troops in Afghanistan – we won’t be wearing boots and fatigues, and nobody will be shooting at us!”