Triathlon kicks off fitness month, brings families together

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Amanda Dick
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Members of the Kaiserslautern Military Community participated in the second annual FitFactor Triathlon May 2 here.

Approximately 70 participants swam, biked and ran their way to the finish line where family, friends and spectators cheered them on.

The event, held mainly for youth to get out and exercise, brought families together to raise awareness for fitness.

Youth program officials hosted the event "to support a healthy lifestyle and provide recreational and fitness outlets for youth and families that support fun and resiliency," said Dorothy Choate, the 86th Services Squadron family member programs flight chief. "In support of the Year of the Air Force Family and the Air Force's newest initiative FitFamily, we focused on the total family by offering a family category."

The event also raised awareness for another service-wide focus, May's Air Force Fitness Month.

"This was our kick-off event to put focus on fitness month, Air Force FitFactor and the FitFamily program, plus our newest program, Club Fit, which is a collaboration between the Ramstein Health and Wellness Center and Youth Programs," Ms. Choate said. "Club Fit is designed to support healthy choices and lifestyles with families."

The event was also a chance for families to participate together, families like "Team FIT" (family in training). Laura Mitvalsky, of the U.S. Army Public Health Command, and her two children, Eric and Lindsey Echtermeyer, 6 and 11 respectively, competed in the Mini Sprint course.

"My mom swam (200 meters), my brother ran one mile, and I biked three miles," Lindsey said. "It was tiring, but it was fun."

Those 9 to 14 years old and families competed in the Mini Sprint course. Those 18 and older competed in the Sprint course which consisted of a 500-meter swim, 11-mile bike and one-mile run. Those 15-to-17-years old could compete in the course of their choice.

In January, officials started the FitFamily program to help establish healthier lifestyle choices for Airmen and their families. The triathlon was one example of how families could get out and exercise together.

"One of the most important reasons to (exercise together) is because we're so busy in the Air Force, whether it's serving here at Ramstein (AB) or deployed, it's important to maximize the family time you do have," said Chief Master Sgt. Dennis Vannorsdall, the 3rd Air Force command chief, who was supporting his 17-year-old son Lucas. "Everybody needs to be fit. We make it a point to work out together several times a week ... we swim, we run, we lift weights. Today is a chance to support Lucas and his endeavors to be as fit as he can be."

For more information on the FitFamily program, visit or the FitFactor program, visit