The BAC has been wonderful in helping us train for our races

Marianne and Andy Baker, Bronson Athletic Club Member

Over the past several years, we have completed 14 Ironman Triathlon competitions, as well as several other triathlons (most recently, the Traverse City 70.3). Having Bronson Athletic Club as an all-inclusive place to train has been a cornerstone of our Ironman success!

An Ironman is a grueling endeavor…2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and a 26.2 mile run…140.6 miles in total. We began our journey in 2010 at the ground level: Marianne couldn’t run a mile, had asthma and high blood pressure. I couldn’t swim a lap, was 20 pounds overweight and had a creaky back…and neither of us had ridden a bike since childhood. But determination and a LOT of training won the day, and in November of 2012 we stood at the starting line of our first Ironman in Cozumel, Mexico. Unfortunately, a strong ocean current came up and prevented Marianne from finishing the swim in time. Determined to finish an Ironman, we signed up for the next open race in March…then quickly realized we needed to train HARD over the winter. Enter Bronson Athletic Club. The indoor pool was perfect, and we started swimming three times a week. Over time, we discovered other helpful classes like Spinning and BodyPump. Plus the indoor track came in handy too! Also, when our kids were off school they loved coming to the club with us to play sports and hang out on the gym floor. We especially appreciate the early hours at the BAC. We’re regulars at the 5:30 a.m. spin classes!

Aside from the great facility, we also love the clubs’ environment and the team that works here. The group exercise instructors are great, and we get a completely different workout than what we get riding on the roads. Also, as a song writer, I often pop in to use the beautiful conference rooms to write and practice. The BAC is truly a multi-use space!

In October, we will be leaving for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii! This is our 15th Ironman and we couldn’t be more excited to have qualified under the legacy program. It took a lot of work, and having the BAC as our home base for training has been a big part of that. We have both decided to run for charities. Marianne is racing for the Special Olympics Area 16 (Kalamazoo). I am racing for Charity Water, an organization that digs wells in third world countries for water. This gives us a little extra something to work for.

Ten years ago if you had told us we’d be going to Kona to run the Ironman, we would have fell over laughing. Fortunately, life is full of second chances and opportunities to surprise ourselves. Thank you to Bronson Athletic Club for giving us a great place to train and work out! The facility is beautiful, the equipment is fantastic, and the staff and environment are amazing!