Friday, January 21, 2022

Top Finish for Marco Island Triathletes

Photos by Maria Lamb | From left: Nancy Garousi, Adriana Garousi, Tara Snyder, Paul Tateo and Courtney Tateo

In 1986, Bill Clinton was Governor of Arkansas and Ronald Reagan was President of the United States. Thirty-two years ago, not many people knew about triathlons as a sport.

Recently, the Naples Fitness Challenge Reverse Sprint Triathlon held its 32nd annual event, starting and finishing at the Naples Beach Hotel and Gulf Club in Naples.

The event has grown in popularity attracting local, national and even international competitors, but its core group of participants come from Naples, Marco Island and cities close by.

Top finishers, 70 and above age group, from left: Craig Carlson, Glenn Guadi and Charles Lamb.

Marco triathletes were very well represented at the 32nd Fitness Challenge Triathlon and came away with top rankings in their age groups. Congratulations to: mother and daughter competitors, Patricia and Eileen Poling, and Nancy and Ariana Garousi; Tara Snyder, Courtney Tateo, Paul Tateo, Nicole Cholka, Karla Meester, Charles Lamb and Craig Carlson. For the Sprint Distance, these athletes ran 3.1 miles; biked 9 miles and swam ¼ mile in open gulf waters. For the International Distance, Craig Carlson swam ½ mile, biked 18 miles and ran 5 miles!

The best thing about a triathlon is its “family-friendly” nature. Grandparents bring the grandkids to cheer on their parents as they compete. With the 13-15 age group growing in popularity, these now “grown-up” kids are back in Naples competing, and their parents are cheering them on from the sidelines. The Naples course is very spectator friendly and the athletes appreciate the robust support from the street gallery.

For the third straight year, the Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, Florida metro area has the highest wellbeing rating across 186 U.S. communities (Based on data collected in 2016 and 2017 as part of the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index, released in March 2018). The ranking measures how residents of 186 U.S. cities feel about their physical health, social ties, financial security and sense of purpose.

The Blue Zone Factor

The Blue Zone Project is a community-wide well being improvement initiative to help make healthy choices, which includes healthy schools, healthy menu choices in restaurants and more healthy options in grocery stores.

Despite statistical declines in wellbeing across the State of Florida, Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island has seen its index score improved, demonstrating that local efforts promoting the Blue Zone Project (which started in 2015) may have had a major influence. The City of Naples, Florida is actively pursuing a certification to be declared a Blue Zone Approved City.

In Marco Island, CJ’s on the Bay is the first restaurant to be Blue Zone Project with approved offering choices that are healthy, low in sodium and plant based.

Though not yet a Blue Zone Approved City, Marco Island residents enjoy a very active and healthy lifestyle.

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