Triathlon is good for Oldham County

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By Deana Epperly-Karem

On Labor Day weekend, Oldham County welcomed more than 2,100 competitors in the 2008 Ford Ironman Competition. As you know, this is a grueling day-long contest requiring athletes to participate in a 2.5-mile swim in the Ohio River, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26-mile marathon. More than 86 miles of the bike route takes place here in Oldham County. Competitors say it is the most beautiful and enjoyable part of the race.

As I cheered the bicyclists on and was amazed by their endurance in the 90 degree heat and their enthusiasm after sitting on a bicycle seat for (at least) four hours, I was especially proud of Oldham County. Several chamber members stepped up to support the competition by providing sponsorship dollars to help cover the cost of public safety. Others provided refreshments or donated vehicles, volunteers and other resources to make the Oldham County leg of the competition enjoyable and safe.

Thank you to all local businesses and public safety personnel for your support of the event, encouragement of the riders, and hospitality to the visitors. I know these folks feel good about our community and will return in the future for events and weekend trips.

Furthermore, it was a great day for the City of La Grange. Discover Downtown La Grange hosted an awesome festival in the downtown square where thousands of visitors waited for their competitor to ride by. The event was well-organized, well-attended and provided a festive atmosphere to the competition. Thank you Discover Downtown La Grange and all of the participating vendors and volunteers. Job well done!

Finally, I was so excited to walk along Main Street with my family and see all the businesses open and booming with patrons. As we searched for a place to eat (every restaurant was packed), I realized how proud I am to be a part of something so significant and important to our community.

The Ford Ironman is good for Oldham County. It may inconvenience us a little as we try to get around town, but it offers great regional and national exposure for our community and its businesses; it provides a significant boost to the local economy; and it gives our county a chance to participate in one of the most successful and recognized international events in the country.

Congratulations to all of the participants and welcome back next year!

The views expressed in this column may not necessarily represent the views of The Oldham Era.