Newman Triathlon Coach Heidi Coble was recognized with the Byron G. Stout IV Spotlight on Wellness Award sponsored by Meritrust Credit Union during a summer conference.
The Health and Wellness Coalition of Wichita held its 13th annual Working Well Conference on Aug. 21-22, during which Coble was recognized for her dedication to wellness and encouraging individuals to pursue their health and wellness goals.
Meritrust named the award in honor of Stout, who was well known in the community and at Meritrust for his passion for health and wellness, after his death in 2015. The award recognizes others in the community who hold that same passion Stout was so dedicated to.
To be considered for the award, nominees have to meet specific criteria that include having a strong passion for all areas of wellness and motivating others, being an advocate for bold, new initiatives in an organization, putting health and life balance first and being actively involved in the community.
Coble, who owns Next Steps Corporate Wellness and has been in wellness consulting for about five years, meets with corporations and organizations and their employees about living a healthy lifestyle. She schedules and leads classes that guide individuals through exercises that range from yoga-style stretching to strength classes and even higher intensity cardio routines.
Her company also helps leadership within organizations create health plans, lifestyle guides and more.
Coble was nominated for the award by a friend, who is also Stout's sister. Amy Butler first met Coble when they both served on the board at the Wichita YMCA in 2005.
"This is the second year that this award has been presented," said Coble. "I'm so grateful for the award, and was just so grateful to be nominated, but the fact is that it just means so much more to me because it's in honor of Amy's brother. It's amazing."
"Heidi is an inspiration, a mentor and a positive example for hard work, determination and healthy lifestyles," said Butler. "She inspires those she coaches every day."
Coble has been one of two triathlon coaches at Newman since the program began in 2016. She said she loves working with the younger demographic.
"When I was in the corporate world," explained Coble, "within my organization, I created two entry-level positions that were for collegiate athletes. I hired one student from Newman (who) played for Coach (Mark) Potter once, and he's still with the company. I hired a lot of college athletes because that type of discipline makes a great employee. I spent a lot of time with them, molded them and then moved them into different places within the organization. So that's always been one of my favorite age groups to mentor. I've been doing that for 25 years in business."
She said moving into the role as a collegiate triathlon coach was an easy transition.
"When I had the opportunity to come back and work with this age group again, it was such a good fit for me — not just to prepare them for a fit and healthy lifestyle, but to prepare them for life. I've been out there, and I just feel like I can help with that. When I retired from the corporate world, I just found myself continuing to be in positions where I was helping people with their fitness goals. I just went with where it went and this is where I ended up."
There are currently 12 triathlon team members, and Coble suspects that number will continue to grow. The season lasts throughout the academic year and anyone interested in joining can do so at any time. Coble said, "As long as we can get them ready to qualify for nationals, we're open to additions as we continue to grow."
The Newman triathlon team is the only such collegiate team in the state of Kansas. Coble said as the sport continues to gain popularity, the possibilities for recruiting team members before they enter college will become greater.
Coble said she will continue to work on gaining team members and looks forward to watching the Newman triathlon team grow.
"I love empowering people to take control of their fitness and health," she said. "More so health. Forget working out necessarily, I say let's just take control of our health and what we put in our bodies. It's really a passion to teach people how to be empowered about their health.
"You have to make your health a priority because you're the one who controls it."