2nd Iron Horse Triathlon expected to be bigger

The second annual Iron Horse Triathlon will be held in and near Lake End Parkway Sunday. The event will feature a 400-yard swim, a 14-mile bike ride and a 2.5-mile run. Above, competitors in last year’s event partake in the run. (The Daily Review/File Photo)

He’s (Parker’s) going to have some competition this year.
By GEOFF STOUTE gstoute@daily-review.com

A year ago following the inaugural Iron Horse Triathlon, Clay Leonard said how participants warned that Leonard “better watch out” because they created a “monster” with its success.
Apparently, in a year’s time, the “monster” has grown as Leonard said at the end of the last week he expects between 250 and 275 participants in the second annual Iron Horse Triathlon, which will be held Sunday at and around Lake End Parkway.
Leonard’s expectations have risen from 100 to 150 competitors they expected a year ago to preparations this year to accommodate as many as 300 participants.
In addition to competitors from across Louisiana, including large clusters from Lafayette, Houma, Thibodaux and New Orleans, competitors also are set to come to Louisiana from Texas, Mississippi, Florida and even one from Maryland.
Participation is down locally, Leonard said, noting that there are not a lot of triathathletes
Additionally, the race is expected to include more intense competition as an Elite wave has been added to the competition that, as of Friday, featured 22 men and women signed up. In order to qualify for the Elite portion of the competition, triathletes must have finished in the top 3 at a competition the last year.
“So not just anybody can sign up and say I’m an elite,” Leonard said.
The goal of the Elite wave was to attract a lot of faster competitors.
Among the competitors participating in the Elite wave will be Morgan City native and defending champion Richard Parker, who won just seconds ahead of second-place finisher Matt Kelso. Parker finished in 55:17.7, while Kelso finished in 55:29.9. Third-place finisher Geoffrey Mire clocked in at 55.48.3.
“He’s (Parker’s) going to have some competition this year,” Leonard said, alluding to the addition of the Elite wave. “It should be a very interesting sprint finish at the end.”
Leonard was unsure if Jeannie Theriot, the top overall female finisher a year ago with a combined time of 1:06.52.9, would be returning this year.
The race will begin with a 400-yard swim in Lake Palourde near the judges’ stand and will continue with a 14-mile bike ride — seven miles north from the lake along the shoulder of La. 70 and seven miles back to the transition area near the judges’ stand. It will then conclude with a 2.5-mile run along the shoulder of La. 70 south into Lake End Park and back to the transition line.
Leonard said the race, known as a Super Sprint, is shorter than a true triathlon but is made to introduce rookies to the sport. He said it also can benefit more serious competitors by giving them a good workout.
“What we did, we developed it as a super sprint because a lot of people are very intimidated about swimming in open water. … That’s what attracted a lot of people, and our course is so good, people enjoy it so much,” Leonard said. “Even the fast folks like to come out here and just go and redline the whole way and really just max out their speed.”
After the Elite wave begins the race at 7:30 a.m. with the swim, then the remainder of the competitors will begin competition in waves, based on their age, in 3-minute intervals. Some waves will include males and females.
Anyone interested in participating can still sign up at imathlete.com and search Iron Horse Triathlon.
This year, swim support has doubled, said Leonard, who will be serving as a race director along with his brother David Leonard and Lynn Lipari. He also said that Morgan City Urgent Care will be onsite administering IVs for those who may be dehydrated and also providing first aid care. Acadian Ambulance will be on standby, too, while St. Mary and St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s departments will be there as well as the Morgan City and Berwick Police departments.
Food will be cooked by locals Scott McCue, executive chef at Cypress Bayou Casino, and Darin Ledet.
Proceeds from the event still go to the Blazeman Foundation, which looks to raise awareness and funds for the treatment and cure of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, more commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

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