The peaceful shores of Stone Lake at Soldiers Memorial Park in La Porte, Indiana once again saw eager competitors converge on the beach to kick off the 38th annual La Porte County Family YMCA Triathlon.
Comprised of a quarter-mile swim segment, followed by a 12.4 mile bike race, and concluding with a 3.3 mile run, the event begins at the Stone Lake Beach House, winds through the wooded areas of the park, and finishes at Cummings Lodge. The race features chip timing for competitors in both male and female divisions, for ages 12 and up, and also includes team categories.
Elizabeth Downs, Healthy Living Director for La Porte County Family YMCA, says that the event is a steady draw for competitors, and brings people not only from the region, but from across the country and even around the globe.
“Our attendance fluctuates a bit from year to year, but overall, it stays pretty consistent,” said Downs. “Today, we saw roughly 180 people come out for the race. Our community has been very helpful, and our staff is amazing, really pulling together to make this happen each year. I can’t thank them enough for all they do.”
Downs says that proceeds from the event go towards funding the scholarship fund at the YMCA.
“With the exception of USA Team memberships, all proceeds go to help anyone who wants to attend the YMCA for swim classes or more, but can’t afford it,” Downs said. “This money goes toward helping those people come in and take advantage of our services.”
Cindy Berchem, CEO and Executive Director of the La Porte Family YMCA, says that the event has a far-reaching appeal.
“We draw not only from La Porte, but we have people here today from Chicago, from Kansas, we even have someone here from the UK today,” said Berchem. “This event has a very broad appeal.”
Berchem says that the event dovetails perfectly with the YMCA’s overall mission to help promote physical fitness.
“Healthy living is one of our biggest focus areas, so the more that we can do to help people get up and get moving, the better. We have competitors here today ranging in age from 13 years to 92, so that’s pretty incredible. We hope that this will inspire others to get up, get moving and come join us next year.”
This year’s race was a special one for outgoing La Porte Mayor Blair Milo, who recently announced that she will be stepping down as Mayor to serve as Indiana’s first Secretary of Career Connections and Talent, a post recently created by Governor Eric Holcomb. The event was Mayor Milo’s last La Porte County Triathlon as Mayor of La Porte.
“I love this race!” said Mayor Milo. “The YMCA does such a tremendous job organizing and recruiting athletes to come out here and compete. We have a beautiful course here, fairly flat, so you can manage your times pretty well. This is one of the staples of our community and a great asset to bring people here to La Porte.”
Robert Langer of Valparaiso took Men’s Overall First Place, finishing the course with a final time of one hour, three minutes and eleven seconds. Langer says he enjoys competing, and likes the bike segment best.
“It’s nice to have a local event like this, within easy driving distance in the region,” Langer explained. “It’s a beautiful course and a fun atmosphere. It’s my relaxation and a great way to spend a beautiful weekend.”
The 38th annual La Porte County Family YMCA Triathlon was another success as over 180 people crossed the finish line at Cummings Lodge, the perfect way to celebrate and support healthy living and exercise.
“To all our sponsors, our volunteers and our participants - thank you,” said Berchem. “We appreciate all you do and we look forward to seeing them all again right here next year for our 39th annual Triathlon!”
For more information about the La Porte Family YMCA, visit them on the web at www.lpymca.org.