"Biggest Loser" MHS Grad Takes On Triathlon in Middletown
Former Class of '96 Middletown High School alum Rudy Pauls, along with fellow "Biggest Loser" alum Jay Kruger of New Bedford, MA, are among the competitors in Saturday's first annual "Amica 19.7 Newport Triathlon" in Middletown and Portsmouth.
A new triathlon comes to Middletown this weekend, with some high profile names among the list of competitors.
Among the entrants to the first annual Amica 19.7 Newport Triathlon on Saturday, Sept. 25, is Season 8 "Biggest Loser" finalist Rudy Pauls, 31, of Brooklyn, CT, who grew up in Little Compton and attended Middletown High School.
As a reality TV contestant, Pauls proved himself as a serious competitor by starting out at 422 pounds and breaking a new weight loss TV show record for the greatest single season weight loss—234 pounds—before season winner Danny Cahill moments later hit the scale and posted a 239-pound total season loss that crowned him the winner. Still, Pauls continues to claim another show record for having lost the most weight in the shortest time, with 101 pounds shed in just seven weeks.
Pauls is joined in competition Saturday by Season 5 "Biggest Loser" contestant Jay Kruger, who lost more than 100 pounds when he and his brother, Mark, competed in the The Biggest Loser Couples in 2008.
Although they did not appear in the same season together, the two later became friends through their wives, who met through Facebook during Pauls' season, Pauls told Patch. Like their wives, the men also became fast friends, sharing workout strategies and research on eating healthy organic foods. Last month, Pauls and Kruger both competed in the Amica Boston Triathlon.
Pauls said he learned a lot about himself both during the TV show "on the ranch" as well as after coming home and changing his eating habits and lifestyle for good. After losing so much weight so fast, he "rebounded" and gained some weight back, he explained, after "slipping back into some unhealthy habits."
With support from his wife, Beth, and new nearby friends such as the Krugers, Pauls turned that around and began agressively training again. Like Kruger, he activated his athletic instincts again and found motivation in competitive racing.
He's accepted the fact that in order to keep the weight off, he "can't just exercise for the sake of exercising."
"That just doesn't work for me," he explained. "I need a reason to work out. I need a goal. I need that race in three months as something that I need to prepare for."
By sticking to his current race plan, by the end of this season, he will have finished six sprint triathlons, plus a century ride and marathon. His ultimate goal is to eventually work his way up to the ultimate Ironman Triathlon in Kona, Hawaii, which encompasses a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile cycling course, and a full marathon run of just over 26 miles, all raced without a break.
"Training and competing in triathlons gives me a goal and something to focus on," said Pauls. "It's a great feeling to compete, knowing that when I weighed 442 pounds I could barely walk a mile. Forget racing. It's an amazing experience to compete now."
Having grown up in Little Compton, attended school and played high school varsity football and outdoor track on Aquidneck Island, Pauls said he's looking forward to covering the triathlon's 19.7-mile racecourse, which starts and finishes in Middletown, and winds its way through Portsmouth and back to Middletown.
Asked if he had good memories of his days by the beach he'll be visiting again Saturday, Pauls reflected on his high school years and laughed, "We spent a lot of time down on those beaches, probably doing things we shouldn't have been doing."
Pauls still has family in the area, so returns fairly regularly. In June, he was an honored guest speaker at the Middletown Class of 2010 Graduation Ceremony.
Pauls Has Some Competition, Alright
Fellow "Biggest Loser" alum and buddy Kruger, 34, lives nearby in New Bedford, MA. He said of the upcoming race, "I am excited to conquer my newest personal challenge and compete in the Amica 19.7 Newport. This sprint triathlon is going to be a great event and serves as a motivator for me to continue working hard."
Pauls and Kruger also seem to have a friendly rivalry going to help fuel the motivation a bit more.
"Jay will definitely beat me in the run, so if I can stay ahead of him in the bike and the swim, I think I can beat him," said Pauls.
Kruger and Pauls are among nearly 400 triathletes registered to tackle a scenic course that kicks off with a half-mile swim at Second Beach in Middletown, switches gears into an island-wide cycling course and finishes with a foot race on and around Sachuest Point.
Also slated to participate Saturday is local professional Raymond Botelho. A native of Newport and former Second Beach lifeguard, Botelho recently finished 15th among the professionals competing at the Timberman Ironman 70.3 in New Hampshire. Botelho said he's competing in the Newport Amica sprint triathlon as part of his "warm-up" for the 2010 Ironman Florida on Nov. 6 in Panama City Beach.
"I am certainly looking forward to coming home to compete in my own backyard," sad Botelho. "I hope to have a strong race."
"Good for Middletown"
Triathlon series sponsor Amica Insurance, with corporate headquarters in Lincoln, RI, recently added the Middletown-based "Newport" 19.7 sprint triathlon to its 2010 Amica 19.7 Triathlon Series held throughout the country. The 10-event series culminates in Phoenix, AZ, in November. The company also added a Boston 19.7 sprint that was introduced last month.
"The Amica 19.7 Sprint Triathlon Series was launched in 2009," said event spokesperson Deb Weinreich. "We expanded the series and added two events in New England this year—Newport and Boston."
Middletown Parks and Recreation Director Timothy L. Shaw said Middletown was chosen to host the event because of the town's already-established relationship with Amica, which has held marathons in the Sachuest Point area.
"This is good for Middletown because events such as this triathlon bring a lot of people to Middletown that may have never been here before," said Shaw. "They see the beauty of Middletown, stay in our hotels, eat at our restaurants, visit our beaches and if all goes well, they tell their friends and family about how great a place Middletown is to visit."
He added, "Another great tool to promote Middletown as a destination for all."
After the half-mile swim at Second Beach, triathletes will jump on their bikes and head out on a course that begins on Sachuest Point Road, passes St. George's School on Purgatory Road, and follows the total 16.1-mile cycling course through a single loop that takes them through rural Portsmouth and back to Middletown.
The course primarily follows Aquidneck Island's east side along the Sakonnet River along East Main Road, Wapping Road and Indian Avenue. Cyclists then return passing scenic destinations including Third Beach and the Norman Bird Sanctuary before heading back to Second Beach to begin the final segment, the running course.
The 3.1-mile run takes triathletes along Hanging Rock and Third Beach roads, with the finish line at Second Beach, rated among New England's top beaches.
On-site registration will be held Friday, Sept. 24 at Second Beach from 3 to 7 pm and on race day from 6 to 7 am.
To register for any events in the Amica 19.7 Tri Series events visit: www.amicatriseries.com.
The Amica 19.7 Newport begins promptly at 7:30 a.m. The winner should cross the finish line at approximately 8:40 a.m.
The Amica 19.7 Newport is the ninth stop in the 2010 Amica 19.7 Triathlon Series www.amicatriseries.com , a sprint distance series of events held throughout the country. The 10-event series culminates in Phoenix, AZ, in November.