Triathlete encourages youngsters to stay active

Chris Gower is determined to stay healthy. And, he said he does it by staying active.

The slender 39-year-old said intensive running, biking and swimming have been a part of his physical fitness regimen for the past 11 years. He is a triathlete, who has competed, and placed well, in various meets across the Southeast.

Gower is using his training as an example to encourage younger people to live active lives.

“I see too many kids that are sedentary and don’t have an active life,” he said, noting his latest endeavor to reach young people and their families.

Gower said he is one of four founding members of the South Metro Fellowship of Christian Athletes Endurance Team, a 30-member group chartered in 2009 with the non-profit Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

He and the team are planning to host a youth wellness program, called Fitness Fun Camp, in October.

“I see it in my own son [Noah] when the weather gets cold and he’s not as active, his eating habits and attitude change for the worst,” he said. “But when he’s active, he’s happier. He has a better outlook, the more active he is.”

Fitness Fun Camp is scheduled for Oct. 1, from 9 a.m., until 1 p.m. It is set to take place on the baseball fields of Salem Baptist Church, at 1724 Ga. Highway 155, in McDonough.

Gower said the event will be free and open to the public, and will include activities for youngsters, and information for adults.

“We’re trying to get the parents involved as well,” he said. “We’re also going to have a nutritionist there, and a produce company [Coosemans Atlanta, Inc.].”

The veteran triathlete — who lives with his wife of 18 years, Kim, and their 13-year-old son, Noah, in McDonough — said he stays on top of his fitness-and-wellness routine by creating new goals for himself.

For Sept. 17, Gower plans to challenge himself by completing a three-mile swim in McDonough’s Lake Dow, and a 150-mile bike ride throughout the Southern Crescent, traversing parts of Henry, Fayette, and Butts counties.

“It’s just something I came up with to push myself,” he said.

He said he will not do the running portion of the typical triathlon, due to a ruptured calf muscle in his leg, suffered during competition last year at Blalock Lakes in Coweta County. He will still cover roughly twice the distance of his previous competitions in water and on the bike.

“Chris is a tremendous endurance athlete, and an extremely well-respected member of our community and has continued training by biking and swimming extensively, even though there are very few races that target swimming and biking only,” said his Endurance teammate, Randal Lane. “Unlike a lot of folks who would likely give up or feel sorry for themselves, Chris [...] has planned his own version of an Iron Man swim and bike event.”

“I’m just a regular guy,” said Gower, who quickly modified his declaration. “I’m a triathlete. That’s my sport, my hobby. I’ve had success in triathlon, but anybody can do it. Triathalon is not just about winning; the winning part is just about being able to do it.

“The main thing is just to find something to do that you like, and keep doing it,” he said. “The main thing is to keep moving.”

To learn more about Gower’s challenge, or about the upcoming Fitness Fun Camp, call Gower, at (770) 480-4392, or visit www.endurancesmat.com.