La PORTE — One of the oldest events of its kind in Indiana is taking place this weekend in La Porte.
The 40th annual La Porte YMCA Triathlon will be at 8 a.m. Saturday at Soldier's Memorial Park.
Shannon Walker, Executive Director for Association Advancement at the La Porte County Family YMCA and a member of the triathlon planning committee, said it's understandably special to be celebrating this anniversary landmark for this event.
"It's exciting to celebrate one of the oldest triathlons in the state of Indiana right here in the city of La Porte," Walker said. "It's become a La Porte tradition that celebrates all that makes La Porte a beautiful place to live and enjoy, including our lakes, beaches, trails and parks. It brings out athletes of all ages and demographics."
La Porte Mayor Mark Krentz and Laurie Halaska, the La Porte YMCA Chief Executive Officer, will say a few words to participants before the race to commemorate the anniversary.
The triathlon will consist of a 1/4-mile lake swim, 12.4-mile bike ride and 3.4-mile run. The course starts in Soldier's Memorial Park at the Stone Lake Beach House and winds through scenic La Porte County. The triathlon, which features chip timing, includes male and female divisions for ages 12 and up, in addition to team categories. Race packet pick-up will be from 6:30-7:30 a.m. Saturday at Cummings Lodge during registration. Entry fee is $75 for individuals and $155 for teams.
Individual awards will be given for the overall male and female finishers, overall Masters (over age 40) male and female finishers, and top three finishers in each age category. Individual team awards will be given for first and second in each team category. The awards ceremony will begin after the last finisher, or no later than 10:15 a.m. by Cummings Lodge, near the finish line. The first wave of racers begins at 8 a.m.
There are 175 racers entered in this year’s triathlon, and Walker mentioned registration is climbing each day. She added that number is very consistent with previous years and a great level of participation for 2019.
"We've tried to be more intentional and smarter with marketing this event to La Porte and surrounding counties, to bring in athletes from around the region," Walker said.
Walker added that the community makes the La Porte YMCA Triathlon so worthwhile.
“The people are what makes this event so enjoyable,” she said. “It takes a village to execute a great event like this. We have amazing volunteers and participants, community, staff, board, etc.. The location at Soldier's Memorial Park, Stone Lake Beach and surrounding areas make the course a picturesque and refreshing setting to race and enjoy all that makes La Porte a fantastic community."
So what’s it like when participants finish the La Porte YMCA Triathlon?
"It's exciting and empowering to watch people realize their personal fitness goals, no matter what their age or background," Walker said. "When all racers are finished, we gather to celebrate everyone's accomplishments at Cummings Lodge with awards and a cookout."
While there's nothing completely different this year about the event, it is partnering with a race vendor for a higher level and more efficient method of chip timing and reporting, RunSignUp.com.
In the end, Walker believes the volunteers, triathletes and local organizations are what make the La Porte YMCA Triathlon memorable.
"We're thankful for all the community volunteers and participants who have helped to make this a great event year after year," she said. "We couldn't do it without our volunteers from the community, including city of La Porte Police, La Porte Hospital, our board, our dedicated staff members, and many more. A special thank you to the city of La Porte Parks and Recreation Department for their continued partnership with this great event. Thank you to all our event sponsors, including Larson-Danielson Construction and Newby, Lewis, Kaminski & Jones, LLP and many more. Best of luck to all the race participants."
For more information on the triathlon, visit https://www.lpymca.org/triathlon.
40th annual La Porte YMCA Triathlon
Saturday, 8 a.m.
Soldier's Memorial Park