Monday, September 14, 2015

Spotlight on the LPC Hurdle Project with Coach James Loaring

Over the past few months, I’ve been fascinated by a project the team at Loaring Personal Coaching (LPC) has been working on to help support developing and elite triathletes. I think the thing that I’ve been amazed by most is the true generosity of most of these young and incredibly talented triathletes. The ones I’ve met are positive, supportive and good role models for how I view the triathlon community.

Given the Hurdle Project is a new initiative this year, I asked Coach James Loaring if I could interview him regarding the project. I’ve also conducted a complementary interview with Jackson Laundry – one of the Hurdle Project team members and a very talented young athlete. Look for Jackson’s interview to be featured in my next blog!

So without further ado…my interview with Coach James Loaring!

2015 Hurdle Project Team. Photo Credit - Pixelate Image Professional Photography
Where did the idea for the Hurdle Project come from?

Funding and support opportunities are scarce for developing and elite triathletes and runners.  Providing good coaching is critical, but if it is not affordable then the athlete might eventually have to quit the sport years before they harvest their potential. Providing service/product/financial support is necessary to help keep their dream alive, to provide more long-term sustainability so that the athlete can continue to chase their athletic goals.

We (Coach Mark Linseman and I) are motivated to help develop a team of passionate and hard-working individuals. By creating a team, all individuals benefit and feed off of each other in a positive way.

It seems like LPC has always made an effort to give back to the community and to the sport. How does the Hurdle Project fit in with this mindset?

Since 1999, LPC/Loaring “grass-roots” events have raised over $200 000 for various charities. Since 2014, LPC events help to fund-raise for the Hurdle Project, with the vision that we are investing into “proactive healthcare” by directly supporting hard-working and talented athletes, and indirectly inspiring many more (of all ages and abilities) to lead a healthy and active lifestyle.

Our next LPC event is the WestMONSTERrun on Halloween in Guelph. Proceeds at this family-friendly community 5k costume run and kids MONSTER dash will go to the Hurdle Project.

How do you choose the athletes on the Hurdle Project squad? Can elites and/or future elites apply to become part of the project?

Hurdle Project athletes must fulfill one of the following minimum prerequisites:

·         Elite: current elite/pro triathlete or runner status in Canada or other country (any age)

·         Future Elite: under 24 years of age with the goal of competing in triathlon or running at the elite level

·         Ambassador: Under 30 years of age, working or studying part-time or full-time, and a member of teamLPC for at least one year.

If they fit one of the above criteria, the potential Hurdle Project athlete can apply by submitting this questionnaire:

When we receive an inquiry and/or questionnaire, we begin the process of determining if the athlete would be a good fit for the Hurdle Project. A positive team environment and culture is very important to us. We will not choose a potential applicant if we get the sense that they might often demonstrate a negative mind-set during group training. Our goal is to help develop athletes who tend to be mostly positive, supportive teammates, role models, community leaders, are relentlessly passionate, and feed off of a hard-working team culture.

What makes the Hurdle Project unique from other high performance training groups?

Provincial and National high performance groups often must focus the specificity of training and development for Draft-Legal racing, because funding for these groups are given to develop athletes toward events that are a part of the Olympic Program. The Hurdle Project is diversified and comprises athletes that are training for all different triathlon and running formats, from Junior Draft-Legal racing to Elite ITU racing, from non-drafting Sprint and Standard Distances to Ironman, from 800m on the track to the Marathon.

Few high performance groups are able to simultaneously provide all three of what we consider to be long-term key success factors: quality affordable high performance coaching, a positive team environment/culture, service/product/financial support to help make “chasing the dream” economically feasible and sustainable. We strive to achieve “coaching, culture, support” excellence.

 What is your long term vision for the Hurdle Project?

To hurdle from “good” to “great”. We aim to continuously evolve our systems so that the big three key success factors “coaching, culture, support” gradually progress from good to great. We have a lot of work to accomplish for us to achieve our long-term goals, and then build upon these goals toward bigger ones. 

I know you have several organizations sponsoring the Hurdle Project. Are you looking for additional sponsors?

We most definitely are looking to build long-term relationships with more companies who share our vision, and who would receive a good return on their investment.

We are fortunate to have many supporters, and hope to partner with several more over the next few months. We have developed a sponsorship level page that helps to articulate how we can benefit a potential sponsor:

In 2015, our main sponsors have been Dundas Speed Shop, Powerwave Energy Solutions, Pixelate Image Professional Photography, Gulliver’s Lake Carefree RV Resort, and Electrocom Canada Inc.

What are the biggest highlights from Hurdle Project Athletes so far this year?"

There have been many individual achievements that we have celebrated as a team that have included numerous overall wins at triathlon and run events across Ontario. But I am most proud when the athletes are very supportive of each other while they commit themselves to the process of consistently training well over a long period of time.

Are there any other interesting facts about the Hurdle Project you would like mentioned? 

The name “Hurdle” is a tribute to Johnny Wilfrid Loaring, my Grandfather, an Olympian Hurdler, Hall of Famer, and War Hero. JWL is symbolized in the LPC and Loaring Physiotherapy logos, which both feature a hurdler overcoming obstacles throughout the journey of achieving his/her personal goals.

The Hurdle Project Team currently comprises 13 athletes, who are all wonderful individuals both on and off the field of play.
Hurdle Project Team having fun. Photo Credit - Pixelate Image Professional Photography

A big thanks to Coach James for sharing his insights and vision for the Hurdle Project! No doubt there are great things to come from the Hurdle Project! For more information, visit the Hurdle Project Team page.

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