John Herzog trains youth triathletes raising money for Foodbank

Volunteer of the Month John Herzog with Jacob Mansbach.

Volunteer of the Month John Herzog with Kids4Foodbank team-founder Jacob Mansbach.

Thanks to volunteer coach John Herzog, the Kids4Foodbank Triathlon Team will be well-prepared for this summer’s Santa Barbara Triathlon.

The youth triathlon team is getting training tips from the Ironman athlete to help with their effort of raising money for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

Herzog, a member of the Santa Barbara Triathlon Club,   fully supports the team’s efforts. He is someone who truly believes and knows from his experience that people really can accomplish any goal they set for themselves. He believes that the minute one decides to replace the “I can’t” with “I can”, it truly changes one’s life and can become a catalyst on the path to empowerment, realizing one’s true capabilities and finding their inner drive and confidence.

Herzog initially became involved in triathlons when he was working at the Santa Barbara Athletic Club and Cathedral Oaks Athletic Club as Director of Sales. Being a sponsor of the Santa Barbara Triathlon, the club received five free entries, and Herzog was challenged to compete.

There was only one problem — he didn’t know how to swim one length in a pool without having to rest. He decided to replace “I can’t” with “I can”.

Kids4Foodbank Triathlon Team

This month Presidio Sports is honoring John Herzog
and his work with Jacob Mansbach and the Kids4Foodbank
Triathlon Team here in Santa Barbara. The Kids4Foodbank
Triathlon Team is looking for kids ages 7-18 to join the
team that will be competing the 2014 Santa Barbara
Triathlon sprint course. They will race to raise funds
to support the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.
Herzog will be the team’s training coach.

Feeling inspired to join the team?

What you will need:

-Running shoes, bike, wetsuit (optional but a good idea)
-Positive energy to set and achieve your goal!
-They are more than happy to help you find gear to use.
-Contact Jennifer Mansbach at [email protected]

While running track in high school, Herzog was a sprinter and never thought he could be an endurance athlete. But he began to take swim lessons at the athletic club, he borrowed a bike from a friend and tackled the challenges that had always prevented him from endurance athletics. He had bad lower leg pain and decided to discuss it with a trainer at the club. The trainer made one minor tweak and it changed everything. He was able to continue training and completed the race. After completing the race, Herzog was fired up and hooked.

“What an amazing experience, so many new things opened up for me,” he remembers.

Herzog immediately signed up and began training for the next local race, the Carpinteria Triathlon. He then went on to complete several Olympic distance races and three half-Ironman races before deciding to compete in first Ironman. His first Ironman was in Tempe, Arizona and he did so well he decided to do another Ironman in Canada.

Some of his favorite parts of training were: honoring his commitment to his word, the transformative nature of the sport, and the number of beautiful sunrises he witnessed on those days that he started his bike rides and runs in the dark hours of the morning.

“When training and waking up so early, you are tired. Your body is tired, and the drive is intermittent and fluctuates. Nine times out of ten, it comes down to the commitment to honor your word. When you commit to something it is a sacred moment. You don’t know how you are going to get there and transform along the way.” He relates, “They say a rising tide raises all boats. One great thing about the structure and the integrity of training, is how it affects the other areas of your life. It’s amazing what happens when you ‘just do it’.”


Pacific Western Bank in Santa Barbara

This monthly series is made possible by Pacific Western Bank

Presidio Sports and Pacific Western Bank have partnered to recognize important volunteer work in the local sports community. This monthly spotlight series is our way of thanking those that selflessly give themselves for the benefit of many. To all volunteers making a difference, we salute you.

With his background and training knowledge, he is very excited and honored to be the Kids4Foodbank Triathlon Team Coach. Herzog was competing in the Santa Barbara Triathlon sprint event in 2011 when he met Jacob for the first time. Jacob and his father, Mike Mansbach were participating in the parent-child event of the Santa Barbara Triathlon. Herzog, who worked with the elder Mansbach, overheard Jacob and his dad chatting about Jacob wanting to finish the triathlon and then play in the sand. He was struck by Jacob’s energy and spirit. Jacob has gone on to compete in 10 triathlons to date and in many of them, Herzog has been there to cheer Jacob on after finishing his own event.

In 2012, the Santa Barbara Triathlon partnered with the Foodbank as a fundraising beneficiary. Jacob and his family had volunteered at the Foodbank warehouse and Jacob began to understand the impact he could make by giving to people in his community. Jacob raised over $4,600 for the Foodbank that first year, and last year he and a friend raised almost $13,000. Jacob has created a team of kids this year with the shared goals of completing the Santa Barbara Triathlon sprint course and raising $25,000 to support the Foodbank in providing nourishment and nutrition education resources for a network of over 330 local non-profit partners.

When Herzog found out Jacob’s next endeavor was to raise money for charity while encouraging others to get involved in triathlons he wasn’t surprised, “Being for other people, not just yourself, is a key value in the Mansbach family.”

Triathlete and team founder Jacob Mansbach.

Triathlete and team founder Jacob Mansbach.

This year, with the help of Herzog, the team will grow and inspire other families to get involved.

“John is an awesome person,” said Jacob. “He is fun and inspiring and knows everything about this sport!”

Herzog will be mentoring the kids on all things Triathlon: Equipment, Health & Nutrition, Preparation, Training and Guidance.

“The goal is to have people prepared and confident. Some people love to run, some love to bike, some love to swim, not everyone feels confident doing all three, and everyone has a different end goal,” Herzog explains. “We will talk about transitions, from swim-to-bike, bike-to-run, the finish line photo moment, and the larger perspective of really taking it all in, being present in the moments that matter.”

This is a great experience for kids, they get to set a goal, challenge themselves, learn to train,  all while promoting and fundraising for a wonderful cause. Herzog recounts, “Whatever you choose to put into practice, having your work win over your circumstances, the more confident and empowered you begin to feel.”

The Ironman slogan rings true, “Anything is possible.”