The last topic of DLA Troop Support’s VPP campaign is Well-Being. Employees from the Clothing & Textiles supply chain are taking advantage of the DLA Wellness Program to not just improve their well-being, but compete in extreme long distance races.
A 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run, completed in roughly 14 hours.
Aaron Jones didn’t finish first among the nearly 2,000 athletes at a ski village in Quebec, Canada, during the Ironman Mont-Tremblant triathlon. But he did win the competition against himself.
For months leading up to the triathlon in late August 2017, Jones, an acquisition specialist at the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, used the DLA Wellness Program to help prepare for this “intense” feat, he said.
While one third of American adults don’t exercise at least 75 minutes a week, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, Jones exercised up to 10 hours or more per week. He created his own regimen of running, biking and swimming to get ready.
Jones used the three hours a week DLA allots for fitness to jumpstart his training regimen. Along the way, he was also motivated by the fitness enthusiasts on his Clothing and Textiles supply chain team.
“The Wellness program gave me enough time to live my normal life and train for this extreme event,” Jones said. “Also, my team here pushed me.”
Jones’ Clothing and Textiles individual equipment team is comprised of athletes who run, swim, sky dive and scuba dive. Yet there is one colleague whose fitness goals aligned with his the most.
Shortly after completing the Ironman, Jones began training for the Philadelphia Marathon with Jennifer Scarpello, a contracting officer on his team. The 26.2 mile run took place November 2017.
“We trained during the three months leading up to it,” Scarpello said. “Goal number one was to finish and be healthy. Goal number two was to finish under five hours. Aaron and I crossed the finish line at four hours, 39 minutes and 35 seconds!”
Scarpello also takes advantage of the DLA Wellness program to stay fit, healthy and relieve stress, she said.
“The DLA wellness program allows me that extra, much needed, time to get my runs in and keep up with my personal health regimen,” Scarpello said. “I am so grateful to work at DLA, a workplace that is so understanding and generous to their employees to allow them the facility and time to work out.”
Since the Philadelphia Marathon, Scarpello took on the first Philadelphia Women’s Triathlon in July. After completing that 400-meter swim, 9-mile bike ride and 3.1-mile run in one hour, 36 minutes and 39 seconds, she is preparing for her next triathlon, which takes place in Wildwood, New Jersey Aug. 25.
Scarpello trains nearly every day, running or strength training. She’s known on her team for early morning runs around Naval Support Activity Philadelphia before heading into the office.
“As soon as I get into the office, a few questions come my way,” Scarpello said. “‘Did you run today? How many [miles]? Oh you got the marathon, no sweat, you are right on track, keep it up!’ These little words of motivation helps keep you going. Knowing they are going to ask me when they see me gives me that little push to get up at 5 a.m. and hit the road.”
Jones said he is inspired by his team’s athleticism and grateful for the accountability of discussing his training leading up to competitions.
“I think that plays a major role in the decision to actually [finish them],” Jones said.
On the horizon, Jones wants to do an ultramarathon, a long-distance run of about 31 miles, and another Ironman triathlon, he said.
“[Aaron is] such an inspiration that when you put your mind to something, you can get it done,” Scarpello said.