Kevin Vander Graaf - Race Director
I'm delighted to be your race director for the Allendale Countryside Triathlon. I've been directing Triathlons for 5 years but I've been running regularly since 1997 when I joined the military-US Army. Even before the military I started running with my dad who ran in the local Riverbank Run and jogged on a regular basis. I got my start racing in triathlons in 2008, and am now the triathlon team captain for Freewheeler Bike Shop of Grand rapids, Mi. I've raced in over 50 running races (5-25Ks) and 30 triathlons (Sprint, Olympic, 1/2 lronman and Ironman) . I've also been an official running pacer for the Fifth Third Riverbank 25K run 6 times. When not directing triathlons, I'm usually competing or volunteering in at least 6 local community triathlons here in West Michigan every year. I have other passions in addition to triathlons. I love spending quality time with his family- especially on vacations! I’m blessed with my wife Amber of 15 years, our son Jacob, and our daughter Alexis.
Tom Hughes - Sponsor Coordinator
When Kevin and Ryan told me they wanted to stage a triathlon in Allendale I knew I could help. A few introductions and bunch of work by Kevin and Ryan later we had enough sponsors to launce the event. This is how I became Sponsor Coordinator. I've always considered myself more a runner than triathlete. I've been running competitively since before most of you reading this were born. Unable to compete with my younger self's race times I looked for new challenges and started running Ultras. That was over 15 years ago. Again, unable to challenge my younger self's times and distances, and getting a bit bored, I took up triathlons a half dozen years ago and loved it! Passions in addition to running and tris include; my wife Val, my family (2 sons & 3 grandsons), my dog Rocket, learning new things and experiencing new adventures.
Justin Buist - Countryside Liaison
I'm the guy who gets to do the dirty work at Countryside when it comes to the Triathlon and I love it. Whether it's run course improvements, helping build bike racks, improvements to the swim area, or just getting out in the pond and pulling algae and weeds I'm there getting the job done. That's not to say I do it all alone, there's a lot of staff at Countryside working on the race during the summer months. I'm a former cross country and track runner that took a really long break from it all (15 years). I only got back into fitness in 2015 after the first triathlon here was done and my wife started prodding me to follow her to the YMCA and work out with her. It only took about 18 minutes on a treadmill for me to fall back into love with running. Seeing how I help put on a triathlon I figured I'd start running them in 2016 to see it from the athlete's side. Only one tri down so far but I've already discovered my weak spots: swimming, cycling, transition, and I could still run a little faster too.