We love to swim, bike, run and get social

Members Bio

Member Bio – Amanda Charlton

This month we’d like to introduce you to Amanda Charlton.

I have been a member of FMCT since 2013, As a member, I have not only learned a lot about myself and the sport of triathlon, but I have formed life long friendships and gained supportive training partners. My journey began while studying Kinesiology and Health Science at York University when I decided to take up running as a way to stay in shape. At that point, I was lucky if I could run for 5 minutes at a time. Fast forward a few years, to 2008, when I was in teachers college, I decided to run my first marathon. I had never run a race before and this was a big challenge for me and I really had no idea what to expect. I finished my first marathon in 3 hours and 45 minutes and swore I would never do it again (I am sure you can relate). After taking some time off and re-evaluating, I continued running ‘for fun’. In 2009, I got hired by the Peel District School Board where I began teaching Physical Education and coaching the Cross Country and Track and Field teams at my school, and sharing my passion of fitness with the students who I encountered both in the classroom and through extracurricular activities.

My father who is also a former FMCT member and the man responsible for passing on his “crazy gene” to me, has completed 9 ironman distance races. I was first inspired by the grit and determination of my dad and other amazing Ironman athletes while cheering him on at Ironman Lake Placid and Mont Tremblant. I knew then that I wanted to complete an Ironman with my dad before he retired from the sport but had no idea where to begin. In 2013, I completed my first sprint triathlon at Iron Girl Canada in Grimsby. I was immediately hooked and signed up and completed my second Sprint the very next week at the Subaru Orillia Triathlon. I learned that balancing training, teaching, coaching and my personal life was extremely difficult, and I knew that the Ironman was going to be a great feat, so I would require more groundwork and guidance in order to be prepared. A friend of mine and fellow member told me about FMCT and soon after I signed up for swimming and indoor cycling and began training. In 2014, I completed my first Ironman in Mont Tremblant along side my dad. Since then I have completed 2 full ironmans, 3 half ironmans, 2 olympic and 6 sprint triathlons as well as 3 full marathons, 2 half marathons and 4 10km races with 11 podium finishes. These accomplishments and successes would not have been possible without the support and encouragement of my family, friends and fellow club members, inspiration from my dad and guidance from Coach Matt.

What does my future hold?

In 2018, I will be competing in the Long Course ITU World Championship in Fyn, Denmark. This will be my first time competing in this distance, my first time swimming in salt water, my first time travelling with my bike by plane and my first time racing outside North America. Although there are so many unknowns, I am excited and proud to represent my country in the sport I love!

Member Bio – Robert McCullum

This month we’d like to introduce you to Robert McCullum.

One of the earliest and most joyful childhood memories I have, is of running on the sidewalk and out onto the boulevard grass. Reveling in that sense of freedom and absolute joy. It is still the same for me every time I put on a pair of running shoes.

Running is where it all began for me. As with some or you, I ran track at school and after that life took over and got in the way. Work became the main focus for quite a while. One day however, I was looking through some pictures from work, that had been taken over that past year. I kept seeing this person I did not recognize. I asked one of my colleagues, “Who is this fat guy in all the pictures?”

Upon closer inspection I recognized MYSELF. I had gained almost 100 pounds. I immediately changed my diet and after several months started to run by myself. I was inconsistent so, I went to the Running Room and joined the Learn to Run program. That was 2008. I ran my first 5km run that same year. The following year, I ran my first Half Marathon at Mississauga and my first full Marathon and then another, and another after that. I kept going in 2010 and joined adult swim lessons with City of Brampton. I also joined FMCT that year and signed up for my first Triathlon experience in the relay at Ironman Muskoka 70.3, to do the swim portion only.

Shortly after this time I tore my MCL and kept re-injuring the same knee over and over. It has been a long slow journey back but I have now done 70.3 events in Syracuse in 2016 and Mt. Tremblant in 2017.

Having been away from FMCT for quite a while, my partner Lorraine and I signed up again this past year and I have to say it is great to be back and to see some familiar faces as well as lots of new ones. I look forward to meeting everyone and getting to know and train with all of you. For me at least FMCT really feels like home.

Member Bio – David Grummett

This month we’d like to introduce you to David Grummett.

My introduction to triathlon came back in the late 80’s watching Dave Scott & Mark Allen battle in the first Ironman’s. If memory serves me correctly this was pre-sports channels and I was tuning in to ABC Wide World of Sports. At the time, I was a pro racer but in a different venue. My racing involved two wheels, copious quantities of fossil fuel and very high speeds. In motorcycle racing you must be really fit. Most people think you just sit on the bike and twist the throttle. Fact is man handling the bike at high speeds takes a lot of effort. Heart rates typically challenge your aerobic capacity. If you are not in shape and your body lets you down, your mind quickly follows. You can’t afford to let your concentration go at 250 kmh. At 250 kph you cover ¾ of a football field every second or a Try-a Tri swim every 5.7 seconds. It was the 80’s so aerobics was a big part of my training. I ran with friends at lunch & pumped weights. Mountain biking was just starting and I liked to train with handlebars and the similar riding position to my racing. The racing and subsequent crashing (my fastest crash was over 240 kph) would always take its toll on my body so I started swimming. I took an adult learn to swim course to improve my stroke. The pool was good rehab for my battered body and it was right beside the hot tub. Bonus!

In the 90’s kids came along and sadly the racing became too much. I had won one Canadian Championship, 2 Eastern Canada Championships and went to the Worlds in 1988. It was time for a change. The family continued to lead an active lifestyle. We cycled, skied, hiked and rode & raced dirt bikes.

Fast forward 20 or 30 years and my 150 lb race weight had blossomed or should I say bulged to over 220 lbs. If I was 6’2” it would have been manageable but at 5’8” is was a recipe for a heart attack. I had always gone to the gym and played hockey but I really needed to changed my eating habits. I lost some weight and even started to run. My eldest daughter Allison did a Tri and it re-sparked my desire. I always wanted to do a Tri so Allison, my wife Jill and I signed up for the Welland Triathlon. I remember looking at the swim in horror but managed not to drown. My competitive spirit had been rekindled so I googled tri clubs and found FMCT. Strangely I haven’t done another official Tri since but a Sprint or maybe Olympic Distance race is on the plans for 2018. I do love the Thursday night swims and I wish I could do the Tuesday night indoors swims but sadly it’s my hockey night.

I did however run my first half marathon a couple weeks ago, in Ottawa. My son is in the Army so we like to support that event. The race was super-hot and I credit another of my new passions, hot yoga with helping me to finish. With a finish of 2:51 I have lots of room for improvement and incentive to train and shed a few more pounds.

Thanks to all the volunteers at FMCT for making the club a fun place to play.

Member Bio – Lorraine Franco

This month we’d like to introduce you to Lorraine Franco.

In January 2010, I happened to read a very inspiring book by a Vegan Triathlete, Brendan Braizer, called “Thrive Fitness.” You might know him as the guy that invented the product line Vega.  This Canadian, Vancouver boy, pro triathlete’s story inspired me so much that I made a decision that I would do a triathlon!! That would be my 2010 goal! Problem was…I didn’t know how to swim more than one lap freestyle. I could only run for 200 meters before feeling winded.  And the last time I biked was to get around university campus. So, this is how my triathlon journey began.

I proceeded to sign up for adult swimming lessons through the City of Brampton. Then I asked my buddy to take me bike shopping for a road bike, and he agreed to teach me how to ride once the weather was nicer.  And I signed up for a learn to run 5k through the local YMCA in Brampton. That year, by May, I managed to achieve my goal of being able to swim 40 consecutive laps in the pool, since my goal race was going to be Guelph 1, Sprint. After completing my first triathlon that summer, I continued to have fun with signing up for more races with friends, doing more Sprints and Tri-a-Tri’s. I also continued running, moved up in distance fairly quickly, and did my first 10k, and then signed up for the Marathon clinic at the Running Room.

Looking back now, I realize that I must have been crazy or on some type of drug. What was I thinking??  Marathon. But thanks to amazing coaches, by October 2010 I completed Scotiabank Marathon and the Jamaica Marathon in December 2010. In 2011, my friend asked me if I would like to join her to do the Ironman 70.3 in Muskoka. Not knowing anything about Muskoka, I said, “Sure, why not.”

So that’s my story. Here I am, 7 years later. I’m still running, biking, and swimming whenever I can. I don’t train very much, but love having fun doing races. I am a back of the packer and proud of it.  I run slow. I don’t get injured. I am a busy mother of 2 teenagers and work full-time. I love how triathlon has changed my life. Not just physically, but mentally, emotionally, and I have more friends in Brampton thanks to all of the different running, cycling, and triathlon clubs I am part of!  I joined FMCT back in 2010 and this club really helped me that year. I am very grateful to be a member of the club again and hope to get to know as many of you as possible.


Member Bio – Marc Fitzner

This month we’d like to introduce you to Marc Fitzner.

Growing up in Bolton I participated in whatever sports I could. If I wasn’t participating I was watching sports on TV. I loved sports, especially every 4 years when the Olympics rolled around. My Dad was a runner, and as a teenager I often would run with him until my knees told me to stop – those long cortisone needles were brutal! I stopped running for 25 years.

Around 2009 my wife Paula got me running with her. She loved it, I hated it. I started at a 7 minute kilometer! 10 and 1’s. Oh the pain! At that time I was also swimming a few times a week at the Wellness Centre in Brampton and met a guy who had done triathlons. Sounded kind of neat! I only biked casually.
I ended up signing up for a Try-a-Tri in Milton shortly thereafter. First race of the year and the water was freezing. But I did it! Success! A triathlete was born.

More Try-a- Tri’s followed and then Sprints. One race I came out of the water near the front. On the bike people zoomed by me. One girl, as she rode by, commented how good I was doing on my Canadian Tire Raleigh bike. I got the hint.

Eventually I got involved with FMCT around 2013 through introductory seminars – ”Transition practices for beginners”. How to improve times, equipment, techniques, and nutrition. That followed with group activities – bike rides, pool swims, open water swims, simulation days, new friends, and lots to learn.

I have now graduated to the Olympic distance. Super-fast I am not, but I get involved and love it! Thanks FMCT!

Member Bio – Tina Shewchuck

This month we’d like to introduce you to Tina Shewchuk.

I remember as a child I was interested in triathlons, but didn’t know much about them.  I can’t remember what sparked the interest again, but a few years back I wanted to learn more and volunteered at the Subaru Milton Tri.  I was amazed at how many people from different walks of life came out to this sport and what stood out the most was how supportive the group was to each other.

I always loved to swim and bike:  hated running though but I had been running for over 6 years now.  I knew I could not handle a full tri but I discovered the greatest invention since slice bread:  a try a tri.  That I could do.  I was running out of the Runner’s Mark in Port Credit at the time and the store owners brought in David Jenkins and Lorene Hatelt to do an intro to triathlon clinic. Perfect timing! Great experience and that’s how I was introduced to FMCT.  Dave invited the clinic members to join in for the open water swims at Professor’s Lake.

Did my first “try a tri” that year:  Women’s only at Kelso.  What a great experience – loved it.  Continued training but then life & injuries got in the way.  My mom took ill and passed away the following year which through things for a loop for me.  Then I got a bad case of plantar fasciitis that hindered my running abilities.  That got better then I broke my shoulder skiing early spring which sidelined me once again.  Over came that injury only to completely tear my ACL in the fall last year.
I am still involved in the sport as I was lucky enough to take an official’s course through Triathlon Ontario back in 2014.  Truth be told, I took the course to learn more about the sport and not to become an official but things happened and I have been officiating a few races a year ever since.  Took my Level 2 last year.  The official’s main purpose is to make sure the race is safe & fair to all athletes.  I liked that concept.  We are not powered crazed people wanting to flash our “DQ” cards all the time.

Now at 46, I do hope to get back into racing.  Just started running again last month – so we shall see.  The one good thing about this sport is that is accommodates so many people.  You can do a swim-bike race, you can do a relay, you can do a duathlon and new this year is the Stroke & Stride series – no bike required.  Not many sports allow for that type of flexibility.
Outside of this, I train with Jade year-round through her training sessions at the Train Station.  Her fall/winter session for FMCT members has been great and made me a stronger person.  I’ve progressed from not being able to do one regular push up to doing 20 with 15lb plate on my back.  My winter passion is skiing and that has improved tremendously over the years as a result.  I ski at least once a week in the winter with my ski club with an almost annual trip to Europe in January and year end trip to Banff in the spring.  Being in the mountains in the fresh, crisp air is both breath taking and exhilarating at the same time.  Makes the winter pass by SO quickly and is a good prep for spring training for triathlons again.  And the cycle continues.

Member Bio – Cesar Centeno

This month we’d like to introduce you to Cesar Centeno.

I started swimming when I was around 12 years old and quickly realized that I was not going to be the fastest person on the team. When I turned 14 and was allowed to compete in 400 meters freestyle I found that I was stubborn enough to not quit on the longer distances so I found my niche on the team in these events.   From that time on I have had a lifelong affinity with endurance sports although I always joke that “at my slow speeds everything, even a 5K, becomes an endurance event”.

In 1998 I decided that I would walk a marathon before I turned 30, which I did the following year finishing at 6:59:58 on a 7 hour cut off time.  After moving to Canada from Colombia permanently in 2006 I found myself too busy reorganizing my life in a new country and put swimming and walking in the back burner for a while.

Eventually I decided to start walking again around 2012 and moved on to running in 2014, I did however got injured several times and was not making much progress but I did still get back to walking half marathons and running 5Ks. During one of these injuries I decided that I needed to look for plan B as my doctor told me to hold back on running / walking for at least 3 months and I started riding my bicycle regularly again and got back to swimming, this time in open water.

Mid June last year I decided that if I was going to be doing the 3 sports, might as well do them in one go and sign up for a triathlon which led me to finding FMCT.  Where I have been very lucky to learn a lot from the experiences of other team members and coaches.  I have since done several try a tris and plan on moving up to Sprint and Olympic distances this year.

Outside of multisports, I am very passionate about the environment and especially the water.  I love spending time in the lakes and due to the amount of travel I have to do for work you will constantly hear me complain about not being able to spend as much time as I want in the water.

Member Bio – Paul Blaik

This month we’d like to introduce you to Paul Blaik.

I never did sports in my life period. In June of 2014, the company I own had signed up a team for the 2015 Ride to Conquer Cancer.  At 39 years old and 230 lbs – I decided in honour of my mother who lost her 8 year battle to cancer at Princess Margaret that I would sign up and train for the unimaginable 200km ride to Niagara Falls.  I bought a bike the same day and started riding.  That year training a lot changed… I started losing weight, lots of weight and for the first time in my life I actually looked forward to training.  By September of that year I began running, I ran the 1st KM of my life at 40!  I always knew how to swim, but in my quest to get ready for the Ride to Conquer Cancer I began swimming laps at my gym to cross train.

Through the winter of 2014 I got the crazy idea that I could do a Sprint Triathlon, something unimaginable at that point.  I stumbled on the FMCT website in a quest to find a place to learn to swim in open water!  That’s when things really took off…  I met so many people, people who encouraged me, Irina, Matt, Zindine, Louis, Mellen, etc, etc..  By the time the ride that started my journey actually came to be – I was more than capable of a 200km ride, not only was it an emotional experience, I did the ride, raise a ton of money and was 85 lbs less than the day I bought my bike.  With the support of my family, my new found friends I did a Sprint, a Half Marathon, and 2 olympic triathlons only a year after my journey began.

After 2015 I had high hopes, in a moment of insanity I signed up for Ironman Mont Tremblant, and I’d be lying to say I wasn’t in over my head… but again with the support of club members I trained for almost an entire year, with lots of other B-races along the way and on August 21, 2106 I proved “Anything is Possible!” “I was an Ironman”

I continue to train whenever I can, my kids have all began to get involved, my wife Kathleen has become quite the runner herself…  We try and make race weekend family adventures, packing up the mini-van and hitting the road.  My young kids love supporting their parents crazy adventures and making signs for us, and we love trying to inspire them.

Member Bio – Paula Guy

This week we’d like to introduce you to Paula Guy.

Paula (age 46) was convinced to joined FMCT by her husband Marc in the spring of 2014. Prior to joining FMCT Paula enjoyed running, and considered swimming and cycling as more of a recreation than a sport. In fact, swimming in any body of water other than a pool terrified her. Although the swim is still Paula’s least favorite segment of the triathlon, she was able to overcome her fear through the training and support of FMCT.

Since joining FMCT Paula has completed a number of triathlons, duathlons and running events, her favorite being the Gravenhurst Sprint Triathlon.

Outside of FMCT Paula is a mother of 3 children and a step mother of 3 children; aged between 13 and 21. She is busy as a senior member of a manufacturing company and in her down time enjoys traveling and red wine.