Hey gang,

Last week we introduced you to one of our athletes of the year, Melanie Stamerjohn.  Now, it’s time to meet her amazing counterpart for the fellas – Joff Pedretti!  Joff is a Physical Education teacher and a track and cross country coach in the Verona Area School District, so he is well aware of the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle and its impact on children.  I’m very proud to know Joff, and thrilled that he is going to be our male ambassador for Tri 4 Schools on this Ironman journey.

Let’s get to know him a bit…and be sure to follow him on Twitter at @JoffPedretti or using the hashtag #IMforT4S.

1. Tell us a bit about your fitness journey – how did you get in to triathlons?

I’ve always considered myself a “runner” and have never felt confident in swimming long distances, so the thought open water swimming seemed very intimidating to me.  Still, I’ve always been interested to give it a try, but didn’t really know anyone who was involved in the sport.  About two years ago a friend who did lots of triathlons and they encouraged me to do one and gave me advice.  I really enjoyed the training aspect for triathlons because the variety of three different fitness activities over just one.


2. What made you decide to sign up for the Ironman?

When I was in college I ran a marathon, and while I was in training for that I met another guy who was training for an Ironman.  At the time I had never heard about that race, but he would talk about it when we would run together and I was definitely interested.  Years later I moved back to my hometown of Verona and the Ironman organization started a Wisconsin race that where the bike route went right in front of my home.  I knew at that point I was going to have to do it at some point.  After getting a few triathlons under my belt I decided that this would be the year I would take the plunge!


3. How did you get involved with Tri 4 Schools?

Katie Hensel (Tri 4 Schools Founder/Director) tracked me down several years ago asking me to hand out race info to the elementary students in my summer track & field camps.  It sounded like a good fitness activity for my group so I encouraged my group to try it out.  I got emails from a couple of the parents who said their child had a lot of fun doing the triathlon and thanked me for passing along the information.  I didn’t think anything of it until a couple years later each elementary school that I teach physical education at got a card from Tri 4 Schools with about $40 on it.  We put that money to quick use, and then I went to their website to find out about their events for next season.  Last spring I did everything I could to pump up the Tri 4 Schools events with my students and get everyone involved who was interested.  All three of my schools earned much more this past year, with one school earning nearly $900!

4. Why are you excited to be one of our Athletes of the Year?

Tri 4 Schools is an amazing program and I don’t think enough people know about it.  I think it’s awesome that they are providing the opportunity for students to get involved in a life-long activity such as triathlons at an early age.  Additionally, they are making it accessible for children whose families cannot afford it by providing scholarships.  What’s amazing is that they have chosen to give back to physical education and health programs at the schools where the participants come from.  As an elementary physical education teacher I’ve seen the pinch that our program has taken due to school budgets that have tightened.  Class sizes have increased and some schools send more than one class to the gym at a time, but the increase in students has not been met with an increase in money for replacing equipment, and in most cases the opposite has happened.  Thanks to Tri 4 Schools money I’m no longer having to make decisions as to what units I need to eliminate, but rather what units I can expand on or add!  I’m excited to be a Tri 4 Schools Athlete of the Year because I want to do my part to give back to their program, promote physical education programs in our area, and hopefully inspire some of my students in getting more active in the process!

5. How can we encourage you on your training journey?

Tri 4 Schools has already done more than enough by connecting me with a great coach like Cindi Bannink at Madison Multisport.  I’m excited to be able to tap into her knowledge and expertise in longer triathlons since she has worked with so many different athletes over the years.  In just a week I can see she will already provide me with a lot better direction that I would have on my own.


6. What’s one thing people might not know about you?

I think most people would be surprised at how goofy I can be.  When a class is having a really good day and everyone is being active and playing safely sometimes I’ll just start dancing to whatever song is being played.  Sometimes it catches students off guard, so it’s funny to see their reaction.

7. What’s your typical fitness routine?  How are you altering that to prepare for Ironman?

My exercise routine is dependent on the season.  Usually this time of year I’m heading out to snowboard two – four times a week.  This year I’m spending that time cycling on an indoor trainer and doing core exercises to help reduce my low back pain so I can start running and swimming at the distances I’ll need to this spring.

8. Favorite activities outside of exercising?

I enjoy playing the guitar.  Typically exercise is my biggest way to relieve stress, but when I’m injured or tired from training, I like to jam out!