A Coach for Everyone!
by Mark H. Wilson
I have always been interested in helping people through my teaching and coaching gifts. Being a part of a group has been my experience all along such as sports, singing, directing races, etc. The one thing I’ve noticed about working with others is that they need to know that you are going to be there for them, and that you care about them. So, I spend most of my time honing the skill of sincerity; without it, my job would be much harder.
Performing has always been a part of my life, like my first vocal solo in Kindergarten singing Away in a Manger. I remember the teacher asked who it was that person singing so loud and well, as I raised my hand. Then, she had me stand-up and sing it for the entire class! In addition, I always excelled at sports. I played football, baseball, basketball and ran track. Although singing was the greatest innate gift, playing sports was what I wanted to do in life. I even wanted to go Pro and it didn’t really matter what sport it was. Fortunately for many people, that dream never blossomed!
My singing career took-off like a rocket.At twenty two years old I was singing full-time in New York City with a professional choir with additional gigs in churches, synagogues, musicals, etc. I enjoyed making recordings, touring the USA, even visiting Italy on two occasions, and worked with some well-known musicians/directors such as Robert Kraft and Gregg Smith. And, by the age of twenty five, I auditioned for the Metropolitan Opera Chorus with promising results.
Despite doing very well as a singer, I always felt that my heart really wasn’t in that occupation. I didn’t want it bad enough and the lifestyle didn’t appeal to me, either. Plus, I met my wife and decided to move out of the City and get back to what I loved, which was being in the woods. That’s when I began training my body again to be an athlete as I had missed working-out and couldn’t wait to get back to it. Within a year or so since I started training my body was back in shape and I was prepared to start participating in some races again. Long story short and four years later, I became a multi-year USAT All –American decorated athlete, and finishing a Full Ironman with a personal record of 10:59:40 in Lake Placid, NY.
I still didn’t feel completely fulfilled by my accomplishments and somehow I needed to do something bigger. I always knew I needed to do something that helped others and coaching was
just the ticket to feed that desire. This was a fantastic way for me to express myself, give myself to help others. I am grateful for such opportunity, and I considered a blessing to be successful enough with it, that provided for me and my family. I am proud to say that I was able to purchase our house as a full-time triathlon coach.
It was while coaching when I met my partner, friend, and now my boss Tom Struzzieri, owner and CEO of HITS Inc. He was turning 50 years old and requested his wife to purchase some training sessions with me. Poor guy, I nearly killed him with some brutal swim lessons but he hung-on like a champion. He ended up liking my coaching style and eventually asked me if I would like to start a triathlon company with him. Of course, it was a no-brainer and I said “yes”. His proposal idea took me by surprised and I was very grateful for him asking me to join forces and do this together. Well, little did I know, my life began a new journey and just changed forever because of that!
I can honestly say that I have never worked harder in my life when we started that project, and, it was alright with me. I believe in personal, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual growth. The job with HITS was just PERFECT for me aligned with my desired personal goals and aspirations. Even though I was experiencing the long hours, travel, challenges, exhaustion, adaptation, it brought a sense of humility in my life, gave me strength, fine-tuning my team work skills. I enjoy learning a lot, that through this day it is still an ongoing process. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am humbled, by the feedback, and camaraderie of the many athletes I meet constantly. Both their support and patience have provided me with a special connection and giving birth to numerous great friendships. As an athlete myself, I understand by heart, their needs and concerns. I am here to help them reach their dreams while they enjoy with family and friends.
“I truly believe that my ultimate goal is to serve others, by giving my very best to others.”
It was Steve Prefontaine that once said, “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” I couldn’t agree more. Now, back to work!
Mark H. Wilson is the race director of HITS Triathlon Series: A distance for everyone! TM. For more information please visit www.hitstriathlonseries.com