Athlete of the week: Luke Felhaber



Luke Felhaber is a husband, a father, a grade 7/8 teacher at Pine Glen P.S. and an avid athlete who shares his passion for being physically active with his students and colleagues.

Felhaber has always been active. In his younger years, he was a life guard and loved being either by the water or in it. At school he coaches volleyball and basketball and has incorporated goal setting and athletic training using fitness equipment he received from a Program Enhancement grant from Trillium Lakelands District School Board to enhance student learning and physical activity.

Felhaber’s journey to becoming a competitive athlete has been a process for him. He suffered from an Achilles injury and was limited in what sports and physical activity he could do but he was up for the challenge. Cardio was difficult so he decided to get back into the pool. It was at the pool where Felhaber met up with a friend who competed in many triathlons. He was the one who encouraged Felhaber to join a triathlon relay team as the swimmer. Once he made that commitment, Felhaber started to train harder by taking swim classes with Jane Wolfe to improve his time. He then took part in the 2018 TriMuskokan and swam the 750m distance to achieve one of his many goals.

Once he felt the positive sensation of completing his swim, he set personal goals to work toward. After many treatments and therapy for his injury, Felhaber found himself getting stronger and was eager to see if he could run again. He slowly progressed, attempting first a 1km run, then 2km, until he was running 7km and decided to do his first Try-a-Tri in Orillia last August. He had to borrow a bike since he did not own one. He shared that he had a good swim and a decent bike ride but he described himself as a terrible runner. Nonetheless, he was hooked and he wanted to learn more so he reached out to community members from TriMuskoka and embarked on his journey in training for a triathlon by running at the track, using the spin bikes at the gym and being in the pool at least three or four times a week.

Felhaber wanted to see what the TriMuskoka Indoor Triathlon Winter Classic was all about so he joined in on the fun in March this year. He said that it was a very cool event and an amazing experience. He had no expectation going in but ended up placing third overall and first in his age category. With that success came the motivation to keep going. And that’s exactly what he did. He met such encouraging and supportive people in the process and says he is genuinely grateful to everyone that has contributed to his growth and active learning.

Felhaber also joined the local running group, Muskoka Algonquin Runners (MARS), and was amazed at all of the knowledge he had at his fingertips while working at his own pace. He feels very blessed with all of the support from his active community.

Entering the TriMuskokan in June, Felhaber had a team of supporters to train with, to challenge him and to push him when needed. One of his coaches, Jessica Adams, said, “Luke has come a long way in his triathlon journey so far. He’s taken on the sport, eager to learn, and has the tenacity to compete at his best. I have no doubt we will see Luke improve at triathlon as he has a great attitude and personal drive. I will enjoy coaching him as well as training with him.” Adams is the professional triathlon coach for LifeSport Coaching and head coach for the TriMuskoka triathlon club.

Felhaber described the TriMuskokan course as “grueling, due to the hills.” He placed fifth in his age category and, after achieving the personal goal of completing an entire triathlon, he said to himself, “I really like this. I have more in me. I’d like to try an Olympic Distance Tri.”

Goal number two was set and he started to train more with other athletes in planned sessions and then raced in the Multisport Canada Triathlon in Bracebridge last weekend. Felhaber said it was definitely a different course than in Huntsville with a longer run and bike ride but he was able to watch his pacing and work towards his race day goals. He placed eighth in his age group.

Felhaber has enjoyed his journey so far and is realizing how far he can push his own body to achieve his personal goals. He relates his athletic journey to his classroom. He teaches the difference between motivation which is an emotion that can change and discipline which is when you set a goal and commit to it. He has come to the realization that you have to have discipline to reach your goals and that is what he will continue to teach as well as practice on his continued triathlon journey.

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