August 2011 - Spokes Magazine

August 2011 - Spokes Magazine

Triathlon inspired him to transform himself: To eat

better, to add biking and running to his swim team

practice workouts. He was always a swimmer, still his

best event. At 13, Lussi made a commitment that

before he’d allow himself to play a video game and

grab a snack, he go out for workout.

Eventually, after finishing ChesapeakeMan – which

he’s completed the last four years, as well as the

Eagleman half-Ironman every year since he was 12

– Lussi decided he wanted to carry his message of a

healthy lifestyle for kids to the masses.

Four years ago, Lussi created an online program

called “America’s Fitness Tri,” which encourages kids,

and their parents, to tackle their own triathlon. After

signing up, all who swim, paddle or float (think of an

inner tube) for 20 laps in a pool; bike, spin or roll 10

miles; and run, walk or roller blade 2.5 miles, earn a

certificate from the website.

To date, about 700 people have taken part.

“The idea is not just for kids to do it, but for them to

do it with their parents,” Lussi says.

He’s already appeared on the cover of Sports

Illustrated for Kids. And, on top of everything else,

he’s written two books, "America, Get Off the Couch!"

and "A Healthy America is One Bite Away," and has

become an advocate on Capitol Hill in the fight

against childhood obesity.

This summer, he’s lending his voice to the Maryland

Youth Triathlon Series, helping to spread the Joanna M.

Nicolay Melanoma Foundation's sun-safe message and

encourage healthy lifestyle choices through multisport.

Lussi will be making appearances at all four Maryland

Youth Triathlon Series events and all children participating

will receive a signed copy of Hunter's book,

“America, Get Off the Couch!”

The first three events of the Maryland Youth

Triathlon Series were held in Frederick, Annapolis,

and Columbia. The final one, the Nottingham Kids

Triathlon is set for Saturday, August 27, in Mount Airy.

Meanwhile, Lussi’s own goals keep evolving. A few

years ago, he set his sights on competing in the 2012

London Olympics, but he’s pushed those plans off to

at least 2016. A few more years building strength on

the bike and speed on the run won’t hurt.

He swims at the famous North Baltimore Aquatic

Club, home of Olympic champion Michael Phelps

and former home of three-time Olympic medalist

Katie Hoff, and hopes to qualify for the National

Junior Championships later this year.

Next school year, he’ll captain the St. Paul’s swim

team and now his plans call for swimming in a

Division I program. Schools under consideration so

far, include Harvard, Princeton and the University

of Virginia.

That’s right. The kid’s as good in the classroom as he

is on the course, sporting a 3.9 G.P.A.

More immediately, he’s racing the Columbia

Triathlon, the Eagleman half-Ironman, and

ChesapeakeMan again, and maybe a sprint tri thrown

in somewhere as his swim meets allow.

He’d like to compete in an official full-Ironman

event. Currently, rules say everyone must be 18. If he

gets permission, of course, he’d like to attempt Kona

in October.

Ultimately, he says, his long-term goals transcend

competition, reflecting the campaign he’s already

begun to encourage other kids to “get off the couch.”

He wants to study government in college, thinking

someday he'll do a different kind of running – for

office – and work on health care advocacy and setting

example as a leader to motivate kids and their parents.

Together. He said training with his parents not

potential continued on p.8

Hunter and his family, including his grandfather, Craig M. Lussi, who was an Olympic ski jumper and cross country skier


Visit to register.






ChesapeakeMan Ultra Distance Triathlon



• • ChesapeakeManÊAquaVeloÊ

Swim 2.4mi Bike 112mi


Skipjack 75.2 Triathlon


Swim 1.2mi Bike 64mi Run 10mi

• •

The Bugeye Sprint


Swim 800yd Bike 15mi Run 3.1mi

• •


at Sea Colony

Columbia_Tri_prelim.indd 1

1/13/11 2:07 PM

August 2011


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