• Amy Woodward

    Age: 26

    It was quite a blow in May 2007 when Amy was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. At first it seemed like the one thing that gave her the greatest joy, riding her bike, was slipping away. With doctors telling her to cut back on riding and focus on the disease her “spark” seemed to disappear. After many flare-ups and tears, she was finally able to figure out that, with her diagnosis, she had actually been given an opportunity to re-think how she approaches her sport and her life.

    Amy’s goal is to place in the top three in women’s age group 25-29 at the Calgary 70.3 Half Ironman, and use her training and competing as a means to educate the public on Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis which occurs as frequently as type 2 Diabetes. She will also raise funds for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada.

    Her grandfather, George Cochrane, is her greatest inspiration for teaching her that an open mind and a positive attitude opens up a world of endless opportunities.
  • Aristotle Sarantis

    Age: 38

    Aristotle was born in Calgary and, after various continent-trotting excursions to such locales as Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Toronto, Vancouver, and Edmonton, has landed back in Calgary. Ari’s endurance sport of choice has always been running, but a martial arts injury some 15 years ago ended his training for years to come.

    After scores of different treatment modalities seemed to provide symptomatic relief only, Ari decided to take a more proactive role in his rehabilitation and work with his team of specialists to get at the root cause of the problem. He has made significant progress in the last year, and intends to complete his goal event, the Calgary Ironman 70.3 Triathlon, injury-free.

    He is inspired by Michael Collins, an Irish novelist and ultra-marathoner who, like Ari, returned to running after a long, injury-driven hiatus. In Collins’ words, “The long period of waiting put the animal in me to sleep. But now that the blood flows, the juice of competition surges.” Ari practices law in Calgary.
  • Heather McInnis

    Age: 36

    Heather is happily married with two young children. Being a full-time mom and working part-time as a call taker with the Calgary Public Safety Communications Centre, certainly keeps her busy.

    In May 2007, she was shocked by her Dad’s diagnosis with terminal cancer. Wanting to relate to the new challenges and sacrifices he must now face each day, she decided to challenge herself by focusing on two new sports—duathlon and triathlon, despite her intense fear of deep water.

    Her parents raised her with the idea that “where there is a will, there is a way,” and showed her that by setting goals and working hard, you can achieve your dreams. Her husband is a constant source of strength and support, always challenging and encouraging her to pursue new things.

    Through these experiences in sport and in life, Heather has come to believe that, as Anatole France said, “to accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.”
  • Liz McLeod

    Age: 43

    Liz is a stay at home mom with two girls. Athletic in high school, she decided to pursue a career in Athletic Therapy in college. She worked with a number of different athletic teams both in Calgary and Ottawa. Liz also worked in a chronic pain clinic where she had the opportunity to do research work for the National Swim Team that went to the Olympic Games in Atlanta. Liz has been teaching running at a local running store for the last two years and enjoys seeing new runners catch the same bug she did. Finding that her running needed to be ramped up a bit she decided to try triathlons last year. After completing two Tri’s last summer she is eager to do more.

    She knows that with ETS help she will meet and hopefully surpass her initial goals and expectations. Liz is very excited about the journey and where it will take her. Inspired by her family to finally put herself at the top of the totem pole, she plans to stay true to herself and never quit.
  • Marc Morin

    Age: 33

    Marc was born and raised in Calgary Alberta where he spent his childhood playing soccer. He played soccer competitively at the young age of 6 until he turned his focus to academics. Marc studied Architectural Technologies at SAIT for a year until he refocused his career towards something more creative. In 2001 Marc received his BDES Degree with a major in Visual Communications and a minor in Illustration from the Alberta College of Art & Design. In 2004 Marc and a business partner created IMPELLO Inc., a creative graphic design/website/advertising firm.

    With the support of Talisman Centre, Marc plans to set a new personal record at the Calgary Half Ironman, complete the Penticton Ironman, and help raise funds for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation through his events. Marc is dedicating all of his training and race events to his mother-in-law who is surviving breast cancer.
  • Jack VanDyk


    Jack is the Endurance Training Systems (ETS) Coordinator at Talisman Centre with over 10 years of personal training and coaching experience. He completed a Masters of Kinesiology Degree from the University of Calgary where he researched the impact of strength training on cycling-specific power along with the periodization and preparation for mountain bike racing. From his educational and experiential background, Jack has created a range of results-driven ETS programs and services at Talisman Centre and continues to study all facets of training and preparation for events ranging from road and track cycling to Olympic and Ironman distance triathlon.

    Jack’s approach is to help athletes understand the “whys” of training and educate them so they can best adapt and balance their training with the demands of life. The structure provided from his training schedules helps athletes remain focused on their goals, maximizes their training time and provides the correct balance of training stress and, more importantly, recovery.
  • Jon Bird

    ETS trainer

    It all began at the ripe old age of three for Jon. A combination of high energy and a fascination with water prompted the Bird family to enroll Jon in the University of Calgary Tiny Olympic Prospects swim program. Throughout the years, he competed at the national and varsity levels for swimming, and in the off-season turned to triathlon to calm competitive nerves and stay fit.

    he summer of 2006 gave Jon his first real taste of the Olympic distance flat-out effort, and he was hooked. The path to a more structured scientific training routine led Jon to join the ETS team at Talisman Centre. Training with the ETS program has allowed Jon to focus on small components such as cycling power, nutrition and core development as ways to improve the back half of his triathlon.
  • Laurel Hindle

    BA, ACTP, NCCP Level 4 Candidate

    Laurel graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Arts and Minor in Communications. She is currently working to complete her Level 4/5 Certification with the National Coaching Institute. She is also working to become a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) with the Coaches Training Institute. Laurel was a 3-time National Team Athlete in Synchronized Swimming and retired in 2003 to pursue others sports such as Triathlon, which she has been training and racing in since 2001. Laurel is now a National Team Coach with Synchro Canada, a Life Coach and an ETS Triathlon Coach for Talisman Centre.
  • Kelly Drager

    BSc, BPE, RD

    Kelly completed a Bachelor of Physical Education, Exercise Physiology, Honors degree at the University of Calgary. Through working at various fitness centres in Calgary she became aware of the importance of nutrition in complementing exercise programs and overall healthy lifestyle changes. She went on to complete her Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Food Science at the University of Alberta, along with completing the coordinated internship program to become a Registered Dietitian.

    At Talisman Centre for Sport and Wellness, Kelly has found the fit that complements her education. Her 11-year journey in the sport and wellness industry has helped Kelly uncover the key elements for a life of health and athletic success. Through exploring an individual’s lifestyle, health and medical history, food preferences, and activity schedule, Kelly creates a nutrition experience that is unique for each client. Kelly believes in creating sustainable health for individuals by working with the client to focus on areas that will support them moving closer to their goals.
  • Megan Bird

    ETS trainer

    Megan Bird started swimming at the age of five, and swam competitively for fifteen years, specializing in 200m butterfly and 400m individual medley. In 2004 she competed in the Canadian Olympic Trials and finishing her career representing the University of Calgary Dinos. Megan is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology at the U of C.