Team ReserveAid member profiles

Scott Adams

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 Armstrong

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.

Semper Fi!

Gareth Doran

Gareth is from Dublin, Ireland. While growing up in Ireland he was an avid tennis player and played on the Junior Pro Tour as well as representing Ireland in several events. At 18 Gareth came to the US and attended University, he played on the Varsity Tennis team. Since college he has been based in New York working at Itau BBA. This is his first year competing in triathlons, he has been hooked since hearing John Withrow’s stories about the glory of completing an Ironman. Lake Placid will be his first Ironman.

Ben Fenton

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 Goffin

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

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 Jakubowski

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

Brian Lee is a proud father of three boys and husband of fellow teammate Carolyn Lee. As a mediocre athlete on the wrong side of 40, Brian has completed the Chicago, New York, Philadelphia 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, Brian completed his first Ironman in Louisville, KY in 2011 with Team ReserveAid. The opportunity to support a charity as inspirational as ReserveAid and to compete with the outstanding men and women on the team is bringing him to Lake Placid this summer for his second and final Ironman. In March he broke his left leg in a skiing accident and is still not running, but is hoping to fully recover in time for the Ironman.

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

Carolyn Lee is the perpetually exhausted mother of three boys ages 9, 8 and 4 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 the Chicago, Philadelphia and New York marathons. In 2010 she also placed third in her age group in both the Lake Warmaug and Dok N’ Soc sprint triathlons. In 2011 she completed Ironman Louisville with Team ReserveAid. In 2012 Carolyn organized the “Firstrimers”, a group of 42 women that completed their first sprint triathlon in Sleepy Hollow, NY. Carolyn believes strongly in the ReserveAid 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 2013 she will be competing for Team ReserveAid at Ironman Lake Placid.

Carolyn is a former 737 pilot with Delta Air Lines and resides in Larchmont, NY.

Jonathan Lieberman

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.

Caitlin Martin

25 year old mental and behavioral therapist for children and adolescents. Ex soccer player and an avid skier. Eat, sleep, breathe triathlon when in season. Everything precious comes in threes!! Racing triathlon since 2009 and was unexpectedly convinced to do Ironman Mt. Tremblant August 2013 after the lovely Colin Martin did all of the registration and Caitlin just received her confirmation email. Finish time was 12.26. After racing various sprints, Olympic and 70.3′s, it was time to step it up and keep it up! Eager and thankful for the opportunity to race with Team ReserveAid keeping in mind and in heart various friends and family members on duty.

Past races: 9 marathons total. Fastest marathon: Vermont City; race time 3.23 placing 5/160 in age group. Biggest accomplishment: Vermont 100 mile trail race; youngest competitor in the grand slam series, 23.44 race time.

My brother Colin continues to inspire me with his passion and dedication on and off the course. Incredibly humble and very well respected, his enthusiasm for the sport makes it very contagious!! I’m lucky to have him to train with and to guide me through the endless training days and it always brightens my day when I seem him along the course. Team ReserveAid is going to be big time in 2014, I am honored to represent this team and the soldiers in Ironman Mt. Tremblant this year!

Evan Odim

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.”

Christy Paine Winton

Christy was a competitive runner through and beyond college until she moved to the deep south with her husband for his work for the Army Corps of Engineers. Struggling with the high heat and humidity and looking to her bucket list for inspiration, she found written “finish an Ironman”. That was two years…or two Ironmans, three half Ironmans and a beginner sprint ago! When she isn’t trying to figure out how to swim and bike, she is busy with any outdoor adventure with her favorite running companion – a german shorthaired pointer – traveling, or creating a new healthy recipe. She is a physical therapist and often works with veterans and their families. She is honored to have the opportunity to support Team ReserveAid and our military families and is grateful for their service.

Tom Partyka

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 Skanes

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

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.

Will Tian

Will hails from Sydney, Australia and moved to New York City at the end of 2012 less than a month after completing his university degree. Coming from a tennis background, Will took up triathlon at the beginning of 2011 and fell in love with the sport after his first race in Sydney Harbour.

Since then, Will has completed 4 marathons, 3 half ironmans and an (almost) full Ironman. While he managed to sneak in under 10 hours at Ironman Melbourne in March 2013, he is often reminded that his time is not official given the minor course adjustment. Will was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to race with ReserveAid at Ironman Lake Placid in July 2013 and hopes to qualify for the World Champs at Kona, before he is forced into the fiercely competitive 25+ age group.

Jessica Withrow

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

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!”