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One of the best things about sports is the stories — underdog victories, moments radiating raw talent, unexpected surprises — think The Boys of ’36 Olympic gold-medal rowing team. What the human body can accomplish is phenomenal. Pursuing the most energized, healthy, fit, athletic, glowing version of you is a journey that only you can take. And why not? Start where you are or just keep going. Let yourself feel inspired. These leaders, all on team turf, share their stories.

Joe Wachter
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Joe Wachter, superintendent Glen Echo Country Club, St. Louis, Missouri

"There was a doughnut place near work that closed about six weeks after I started my diet. I don’t think it’s because they lost my business,” Wachter says with a laugh, talking about his recent fitness transformation. He could eat fast food, pastries, candy bars, nearly 3,000 calories of it, before eating half of a frozen pizza for dinner. Not anymore.

“I’m not a diet geek. Mainly, I’ve tried to keep under 2,000 calories and do 30 to 120 minutes of activity a day,” says Wachter, who uses the MyFitnessPal app to help track his numbers. His workout time is dedicated, not activity from work at the course where he is a hands-on superintendent. Working his way into the industry after a successful career administering drivers and busing systems for schools, Wachter learned the turf side of things on the job.

At age 64, the 5-foot-7 Wachter has lost 40 pounds since December by watching what he eats, lifting a little and walking. He has completed one marathon and is doing a 50-mile race that covers 2,500 feet of elevation change in Mark Twain National Forest. The trails feel better on his knees than the roads and sidewalks. He has the marathon bug and wants to keep doing them, often using the AllTrails app to help him plan. A former athlete raised by a coach and now fighting arthritis, Wachter has that mentality to always try to be a little better.

He hasn’t completely eliminated alcohol. But he eats more vegetables and he has cut back on wheat. He likes salmon and other kinds of fish and has learned to appreciate hummus. Wachter eats fruit throughout the day and has a jar of peanut butter close by if he needs some quick calories. “I have earned some ice cream and cheesecake, but I’m keeping it in check,” Wachter says. “I’m trying to make it permanent. I don’t want to gain it all back. When I retire, I might sell flowers or work in a nursery, but I want to stay healthy.”

The time spent training has been good for introspection. “As a superintendent, I have challenged myself to be the best that I can be and I’m motivated,” he says. “I search out learning and try not to be outworked by anybody. I didn’t really apply that process to my health and well-being all the time. You have to take care of your mind and body. I have more clarity since I have been working out.

“I am flawed, but I have a lot of heart and a lot of care. I’ve spoken with vendors who follow me online, saying they want to change some things. That makes me feel good and it’s why I’ve been on social media. There are a lot of us not in good shape, but we can change bad habits. If I’ve done something that helps someone and they can help someone else, that’s what it’s all about.”

Linda Carrier, crew The Country Club of North Carolina, Pinehurst, North Carolina

Linda Carrier
© courtesy of linda Carrier

"I am the second oldest of seven children and I always had a lot of energy,” says Carrier, describing parts of her childhood. “My mother would send me out to run around the block until she told me to stop. The neighborhood kids would set up lawn chairs for me to jump over.”

She hasn’t slowed down very much. Now 60 years old, Carrier has rated more than 140 courses, works on the maintenance crew a few mornings a week, trains for and runs marathons and other long-distance races, and takes good care of herself. She has had Type 1 diabetes, a genetic condition, for 46 years and knows it’s important to be fit to counter the disease. As Carrier was rating courses, she grew interested in their maintenance practices. A lifelong learner, she took a maintenance job to learn even more. She was surprised about how physical the work can be.

“I wanted to learn to cut pins, so a young man showed me,” she says. “He hands me the foot extraction hole cutter and I realize this is not that easy. I put all my weight on it and still had trouble. Extracting the plug required some upper body strength I was apparently lacking. The young man joked, ‘Maybe you should eat another hamburger or two and do some push-ups.’ Every task requires fitness and, so far, the tasks I love are placing tees, working the sand pro, cutting and rolling the greens. I love this job.”

In October, Carrier will tackle her third World Marathon Challenge, running seven marathons on seven continents in seven days — 183.4 miles in 168 hours. The route starts in Antarctica then goes to Cape Town, Perth, Dubai, Madrid, Fortaleza (Brazil) and ends in Miami. Training for and executing this race requires careful nutrition and hydration.

“For food, I eat enough to cover the calories I’m burning, but also choose the right foods to aid in muscle recovery and keep my blood sugars level,” Carrier says. “As the miles increase, I increase my carbohydrates. I drink a protein and carbohydrate supplement after any run of 13 miles or longer.” She stays strong and flexible with Pilates and yoga. She has a massage and/or acupuncture once a month to aid blood circulation and reduce injury.

“As we age, it’s critical to stay active,” Carrier adds. “That could be walking, gardening, working or so many things. Golf, running and course maintenance have allowed me to stay active and maintain a healthy lifestyle.”

Patrick Husby, superintendent Due Process Stable, Colts Neck, New Jersey

You know him, Eddie, the skeletal, muscle-baring mascot gracing Iron Maiden’s album covers and merchandise. He’s always there, resilient, and Husby is always there, resolute in making time for fitness. Standing 6-foot-2 and weighing 188 pounds, Husby and Eddie could be brothers. Husby often shares his phone wallpaper — of Eddie — on social media with a few words.

“A quote or song lyric, anything important, motivational, or poignant,” he says. “I love Iron Maiden, so I shared one piece of their art and it just grew from there. I have been motivated by a few people I’ve met through social media to whom I give massive credit for helping me accomplish the things I have. I try to give back and pay things forward. If a post of mine is motivating to even one person, then I am supremely humbled, thankful and happy.”

The timestamps on those posts often read 4 a.m., with Husby hard at work before going to work. The term “garage-grinder” is used often. “My ideal day is every day I can be productive and help lead the team,” Husby says. “Working out, 99 percent of what I do is bodyweight activity — pullups, pushups, squats, dips, sit-ups, lunges, burpees. Every day I train, I get to the garage, grab my sweaty, spiral-bound notebook, and write out a routine for that session. I love to add running before, after or both if I have time.”

There have been a few outstanding fitness moments. One is running a 50k (that’s 31 miles, on a track) in 4 hours, 19 minutes. He set the goal in 2020 and didn’t meet it so he trained during 2021 and got it done just before 2022 rolled in, on New Year’s Eve. Goals can be helpful and so were the friends who showed up to cheer him on, willing him through that last 10k. In March 2021, Husby ran to help fundraise for the GCSANJ Foundation. He was sponsored to run four miles every four hours for 48 hours. He started at 8 p.m. on Friday night and finished on Sunday afternoon, raising more than $20,000 and making up for a missed fundraising tournament in 2020.

Husby wants to be healthy for his colleagues, family and friends. He doesn’t count physical activity at work toward his training. Left to his own devices, he might eat too much “garbage” but, in general, he and his family eat well. He goes to bed early, though there have been stressful times in his career where it has been hard to sleep. His advice is to find a way into the mental perspective where something at work is enjoyable or motivating.

“I love my position,” Husby says. “I love our team, I love my boss, I love each day that I have the opportunity to come to work. That is what makes me sleep well.”