September #MIKidsCan Champion of the Month: Reed Vanderlugt

Reed Vanderlugt, 16, has completed nearly 30 races in his lifetime. This November, he will participate in the Iceman Cometh Challenge after being selected as one of the winners of the #MIKidsCan Iceman Cometh Contest hosted by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

This long-distance cyclist is also being featured as our September #MIKidsCan Champion of the Month for the inspirational story behind his passion.

“I was seven when I completed my first triathlon,” Reed explained. “My dad brought me on the trails as soon as I could start riding and he, my brother and I have enjoyed cycling together ever since.”

Extreme sports come second-nature to Reed. Just last year, he was the overall winner in the Ionia Xterra Duathlon, Fremont Triathlon and Yeti Trail Running Competition.

“Although I am biased as his parent, my proudest moment was after he won an event, a special needs participant was marveling at his medal,” Reed’s dad shared. “Without batting an eye, he took the medal off and gave it to the young man.”

One of the people that inspires Reed the most is his mother, who was diagnosed with ALS, a debilitating neuromuscular disease, just over three years ago.

“She still comes to every single one of my races,” Reed shared. “It’s always nice to see her on the course sideline. It reminds me that I’m lucky to have been given great abilities and I want to put them to use.”

Though he’s excited to have won the contest, Reed is no stranger to the Iceman Cometh. This year he hopes to beat his 1:40 time from last year’s 30-mile trike. To prepare, he will ride the trails near his home.

“It’s always really competitive at the Iceman,” he explained. “You never know what the weather conditions are going to be like or how they’ll change the course.”

Despite his busy training schedule, Reed prides himself on maintaining a 4.0 GPA. This focused tenth grader also manages to find time to be on his school’s varsity soccer team as well. “Outside of biking, I’m a big soccer player,” he said. “I also hope to take up more hiking in the future. I used to do a lot of hiking when my family lived in Colorado.”

It’s evident that Reed’s work ethic and positive, can-do attitude will catapult him to great success in years to come.

Do you know a child who deserves to be recognized for their commitment to living a healthy, active lifestyle? Nominate them at AHealthierMichigan.org/MIKidsCan.

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Photo Credit: Philip Vanderlugt (feature and inset)

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