This past weekend, a few hundred athletes participated in Leon’s Triathlon in Hammond, Indiana.
Race weekend kicked off Saturday with the 1st annual Patriot Walk 5K to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the United Service Organization. Proceeds of the walk supported the USO of Indiana and WIRED Athletes Foundation.
Walkers and runners enjoyed the morning stroll around Wolf Lake with full sized American Flags lining the entire course. After the 5K, triathlon festivities took over with packet pick-up, a practice swim and demo day at the Wolf Lake Pavilion.
Racers set up transition early Sunday with dozens of American flags in their backdrop. All signs of thunderstorms from Saturday night were gone and athletes were given perfect race day conditions along with warm water temps at 73 degrees. Local ROTC and veterans kicked off the morning with the unfolding of a Garrison Flag, playing of Taps along with the National Anthem and a helicopter fly by.
This event has always supported veterans and paratriathletes. Dare2Tri, whose mission is to positively impact the lives of athletes with disabilities through paratriathlon, had a big showing race day and provided inspiration to fellow athletes and spectators alike.
Athletes participated in either the Olympic or Sprint distance. The bike course was new this year and proved to be fast for many; Sprint competitors did one loop and Olympic racers went around the course twice. Although there were some turns, the pavement was in good condition and the winds kept athletes alert and humble. The run followed the same course as the Patriot Walk. Sprint distance athletes had an early turn around while the Olympic went around the entire lake.
Finishers were welcomed through the chute with a handshake and medal from Leon himself!