"I am thrilled to death," said Adrienne Rosenbloom.
In October, Rosenbloom qualified for the 2011 Boston Marathon, turning in her best time in 11 years. The 42-year-old mother of two ran 26.2 miles in three hours and 28 minutes (an average of 7:56 minutes per mile), a personal record, at the Mohawk Hudson Marathon in Albany, N.Y.
Rosenbloom credits her personal record, speed and strength to the fact she has been training with Ian Briggs, the new director of personal training services at the Sandra and Leon Levine Jewish Community Center.
"Ian has a positive attitude about everything," said Rosenbloom. "He is uplifting and inspirational, and I carry that attitude with me throughout the whole program."
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Since training regularly with Briggs, Rosenbloom said, she feels stronger. "That confidence about my physical abilities carries over through life," she said.
Briggs, who lives in the Arboretum area, will continue to prepare Rosenbloom for the Boston Marathon while he develops personal training services at the Levine JCC for all ages and abilities.
Australian born and raised, Briggs, 44, didn't start out as a personal trainer, but he has a more-than-25-year history of competition.
"He is an amazing athlete," said Andrea Weisberg, Levine JCC personal trainer.
In Australia, Briggs competed at the national level in the triple jump, long jump and pole vault. He took to adventure racing in college, which included sports such as horse riding, wind surfing and kayaking, and he "got hooked" on triathlons, his favorite sport.
Briggs earned an MBA in Australia and worked in marketing for a large pharmaceutical company.
"The job I used to do kept me traveling a lot," said Briggs.
"All of the travel also did not allow me to keep the healthy type of lifestyle that I wanted."
Briggs moved to the U.S. six years ago and "made the choice to change career directions to do something that I loved doing, and to help ensure my own future health," he said.
"In recent years, I have trained world-level squash players, Olympic-level marathon runners, elite-level triathletes and college basketball players," said Briggs, as well as some of the contestants for "America's Next Top Model."
Six months ago, Briggs and his then-fiancée, Lisa (who now is his wife), moved to Charlotte, and he began working at the Levine JCC.
"His arrival at the Levine JCC has provided a real boost in terms of active participation and member satisfaction," said Barry Schumer, Levine JCC assistant executive director. "Ian brings a very high level of professionalism and technical expertise, combined with a unique Australian-style upbeat attitude, to the entire personal training services department."
Briggs recently traveled to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., to "attend an elite-level coaching program to further develop the talent and experience of coaches who will identify and develop future Olympic triathlon champions," said Briggs. Only a certain number of coaches are selected yearly to attend this course, a requirement for completing the highest triathlon coach certification.
The elite program "gives qualified USAT-certified coaches the opportunity to learn directly from the USAT resident coaching staff and athletes, high-performance coaches and to gain practical coaching and management experience at the United States Olympic Training Center," said Briggs.
Some of the topics covered at the program involved identifying areas of weakness and breaking down performance into manageable segments.
Understanding this information will help Briggs and the trainers at the Levine JCC.
Also, "there is no reason why the 'J' could not be a location for identifying future talented athletes - we certainly have the facility," said Briggs.
Clients of all ages and abilities have been attracted to Briggs' training methods for his scientific approach, his sixth sense of how hard they need to be pushed and the results he enables.
And let's not forget his sense of humor: "Do it 'cause I'm Australian," said Briggs.
"He really has a way to inspire people and bring out your best," said Rosenbloom.