Legally Blind Athlete, Injured Military Veterans And First-Time Participants Among The Thousands Of Individuals – From Weekend Warriors To Elite Triathletes – Gearing Up For Life Time Fitness Triathlon
More Than 3,000 Registered to Join World-Elite Pros at Minneapolis Event on July 12

CHANHASSEN, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In a race long recognized for its record prize purse and participation by the world’s top professional triathletes, the Minneapolis-based 2008 Life Time Fitness (NYSE: LTM) Triathlon, set for Saturday, July 12, once again will play host to more than 3,000 athletes. The following participants are among the countless remarkable stories of inspiration, courage and dedication.

In spite of being diagnosed with Stargardt's disease, a severe form of macular degeneration, which affects approximately one in 10,000 children and leads to legal blindness, Aaron Scheidies was determined to continue his active lifestyle. A varsity athlete in swimming, cross country and track at Farmington High School in Minnesota, Scheidies expanded his athletic pursuits by completing his first triathlon following his junior year in high school. Now a 21-year-old kinesiology major at Michigan State University, he has competed in over 60 triathlons. In impressive fashion last October, Scheidies became the first challenged athlete to complete an Olympic-distance triathlon in less than two hours – a feat he accomplished at the Toyota U.S. Open Triathlon in Dallas, crossing the finish line in 1:58:08. He now seeks to better that time at the Life Time Fitness Triathlon in Minneapolis.

Andy Hatcher, John Blue and Sam Cila are among the honorable and courageous men and women who proudly serve our country through dedicated military service. These three individuals have combined forces to compete at the Life Time Fitness Triathlon as a relay team – each with their own unique story to tell.

Hatcher, a 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion 2nd Marine Division veteran, suffered a severe injury resulting in a leg amputation on Thanksgiving Day in 2004. Just five months into his recovery, he joined with a group of fellow injured troops and completed a 450 mile bike ride from Washington, D.C. to New York City in seven days. He continues to compete in myriad events and looks to complete another team effort.

A career soldier, Blue holds more than 20 years of active duty experience in the United States Army. While deployed in Iraq, his vehicle was struck by an explosion, removing most of his right foot and resulting in extensive injuries to his right leg. Following surgery and rigorous rehabilitation, Blue returned to full-duty as the Battalion Command Sergeant Major in October 2007. He remains on active duty and has served as an inspiration to other injured service members via his relentless efforts to participate in and benefit from the healing power of sports.

Cila joined the New York National Guard shortly after the September 11 attacks on New York City and quickly rose to the rank of Sergeant. After being deployed to Iraq, he was wounded in an improvised explosive device blast while on patrol in Baghdad on July 4, 2005. In spite of the injuries he sustained, Cila also serves as an inspiration to us all, regularly competing in triathlons and other athletic events since May 2007.

Excelsior, Minnesota native, Joanne Baird, is taking her fitness journey a step higher. In February 2008, she experienced her first taste of the fast-growing sport of triathlon by competing in a Life Time Fitness Indoor Triathlon. With the guidance and encouragement of her personal trainer, Chuck Priest, Baird not only successfully completed the event, but was inspired to take on yet another challenge: the outdoor Life Time Fitness Triathlon.

Baird, has trained with Priest for two years, lost 60 pounds and become one of the thousands of individuals turning to triathlons as benchmark goals in their healthy-way-of-life pursuits. Priest, a Life Time Fitness Chanhassen personal trainer, commented on his client’s status as a budding triathlete. “When Joanne and I began working together, her primary goal was weight loss. Having achieved her goal, she set her sights on the next phase of her health and fitness journey. I suggested that she train for a triathlon given the balanced, healthy mix of swimming, biking and running activity required. With her first indoor triathlon under her belt, I look forward to completing the outdoor triathlon with her and leveraging the opportunity to keep Joanne’s fitness journey motivational and invigorating.”

The 2008 Life Time Fitness Triathlon will take place on Saturday, July 12 at Lake Nokomis in downtown Minneapolis. The event will feature participation by more than 3,000 participants, including 40 of the world’s top professional triathletes competing for a share of a $250,000 prize purse. The Life Time Fitness Triathlon is part of the Life Time Fitness Triathlon Series and a signature event of the Minneapolis Aquatennial, a premier, 68-year old community tradition in the Twin Cities.

For more information on the 2008 Life Time Fitness Triathlon or 2008 Life Time Fitness Triathlon Series Race to the Toyota Cup, or to register for the events, visit

2008 Life Time Fitness Triathlon Sponsors

Life Time Fitness is proud to recognize the 2008 Life Time Fitness Triathlon sponsors:

  • Toyota
  • Orbea/Shimano
  • TYR
  • Jennie-O Turkey Store
  • MGD 64
  • Edge (R) - Available at Target(R)
  • Janus
  • Ameriprise Financial
  • Polar
  • PowerAde
  • Twin Cities Orthopedic
  • Bluegreen Vacations
  • Hormel Natural Choice
  • Chi Chi's
  • Cub Foods
  • Triathlete Magazine

About the Life Time Fitness Triathlon Series

The Life Time Fitness Triathlon Series was launched in 2006 and created the first-ever connection among four of the most prominent Olympic-distance triathlon events in the United States. The Life Time Fitness Triathlon (, held in Minneapolis, is produced by Life Time Fitness, Inc. The Accenture Chicago Triathlon ( is produced by Creative & Production Resources, Inc (CAPRI Events). The Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Triathlon ( is produced by Pacific Sports LLC. The Nautica New York City Triathlon ( is produced by Korff Enterprises. In 2007, the Life Time Fitness Triathlon Series was expanded to include a Championship event, the Toyota U.S. Open Triathlon Dallas. In 2008, the Series announced the Race to the Toyota Cup to award the top female and male triathletes in each of three separate divisions: Professional, Elite Amateur and Age Group at the Toyota U.S. Open Triathlon in Dallas. Overall, the 2008 Life Time Fitness Triathlon Series offers $1.45 million in cash prizes for the Professional Division.

2008 Life Time Fitness Triathlon Series Event Timeline

Life Time Fitness Triathlon (Minneapolis) – July 12

Nautica New York City Triathlon – July 20

Accenture Chicago Triathlon – August 22

Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Triathlon – September 7

Toyota U.S. Open Triathlon (Dallas) – October 5

About Life Time Fitness, Inc.

Life Time Fitness, Inc. (NYSE:LTM) operates distinctive and large, multi-use sports and athletic, professional fitness, family recreation and resort and spa centers. The company also provides consumers with personal training consultation, full-service spas and cafes, corporate wellness programs, health and nutrition education, the healthy lifestyle magazine, Experience Life, athletic events, and nutritional products. As of June 30, 2008, Life Time Fitness operated 74 centers in 17 states, including Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Utah and Virginia. Life Time Fitness is headquartered in Chanhassen, Minnesota, and can be located on the Web at LIFE TIME FITNESS, EXPERIENCE LIFE, and the LIFE TIME FITNESS TRIATHLON SERIES are registered trademarks of Life Time Fitness, Inc. All other trademarks or registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

For further information: Life Time Fitness, Inc. Jason Thunstrom, 952-229-7435 or Kent Wipf, 952-229-7211