Leon’s Triathlon, known as “the world’s fastest triathlon, place on a hot and muggy Sunday morning at Wolf Lake in Hammond. Leon’s Triathlon is a USA Triathlon sanctioned event and is a part of the three-part Chicago series of events of its type in the area, which includes the worlds famous Chicago Marathon.
Leon’s Triathlon started in 1988 when Leon Wolek had been participating in other triathlons across the nation and decided to start one of his own here in Northwest Indiana. He first started the triathlon in his hometown of Hobart at Mac Joy Lake, but moved it to Wolf Lake in Hammond once it outgrew the previous area.
The race grew and grew but eventually the triathlon was retired. It has resurged since its 15 year hiatus, coming back in 2010. Now, the triathlon is bigger than ever.
The vastness of the event can be seen through not only the number of participants but the vendors as well. Many came out and lined up along the finish line against the pavilion. Versa Climber, Factor 75, T1Pro Magnetic Belt, Fireshark, Zoot, Van Til’s, and many more showed their support for the race. Team RWB also partnered with the triathlon to help enter American Veterans to participate as well.
No matter what size, shape, nationality, age, or experience, all of the participants gave it their all. The race is set up between an Olympic-length triathlon, also known as a sprint distance triathlon. The sprint-distance triathlon features a swim of .465 miles, a bike race of 12.5 miles, and then finally running 3.1 miles. There were also options to make the triathlon into a team challenge or relay.
Karl Repay, Salvador Cordova, and Anthony Repay took part in the relay option and said the experience couldn’t be better for their first triathlon. “It was really good today. It felt shorter than what my time was but it was a lot of fun.” Cordova said. “It’s something that’s hard to put into words.”
Repay swap for his team and enjoyed it just the same, “It was really good. It was great to be out here with my brother, friends and to just have fun. Swim hard, bike hard, and run fast. That’s how you have to do it.”
The day couldn’t go off without a hitch unless the strong team of volunteers was there to help out. Miranda Dixon, Ciara Marrero and Justice Riley were there from Hammond High to be part of the volunteer team.
"We volunteered to help with a bunch of stuff today. We're cleaning up afterwards, cheering on the people, handing out water, and anything else that's needed", Dixon explained. Marrero added on, "It's been fun so far. I’m glad we came and did this.”
During the race a large and upbeat crowd from Luke was there to cheer on bikers and passed out much-needed water to the runners as they made their final trek in the triathlon.
Eventually the participants all crossed the finish line. Leon Wolek was there himself handing out medals, shaking hands, and thanking them for taking a part in his race. From there the tri-athletes were welcomed by their teammates, family and friends with never-ending congratulations.
All of the participants who crossed the finish line were winners, even if they didn’t place. Being a part of a triathlon is a huge accomplishment in itself, so congratulations to all of the 500-plus athletes who swam, ran, and biked their hearts out. Without a doubt a green neon poster seen at the finish line summed the day up better than any other phrase could: “Status Update: Kicking Butt”.
Don’t forget, Leon’s Triathlon will be broadcast on Comcast SportsNet during the Fourth of July weekend! Mark it down in the calendar; it’s surely an event you’ll want to see in action.
Click here for race results.