To honor our Veterans on this day I’d like to talk about a particular race that resonates with me, and urge those of you who feel as I do not simply mark it on your calendar, but to register your entry.
I was not at Leon’s Triathlon on the morning of July 16, 1995. However, for reasons both personal and patriotic, I intend to be there on the morning of June 7, 2020. This will be a day for sentimentalists like me to celebrate the 25 years that have passed since Leon’s Triathlon served as a qualifying event for the first ever Military World Games, established in 1995 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the end of World War II and the birth of the United Nations.
I first heard about Leon’s Triathlon in 2016 while driving TBLOCKS around the country during the Slowtwitch Road Show. I had the pleasure of meeting its founder, Leon Wolek, this summer at a kickoff event for the Chicago Triathlon. Leon told me he grew up within shouting distance of the American Legion Post that bears his father’s name, which explains why he dedicates his eponymous event to honoring all those who have served, and continue to serve, in the U.S. Military.
Leon and I have had the honor of spending time with World War II veterans. I used to own an assisted living facility that catered exclusively to military veterans, so Leon’s focus on military service resonates with me.
There are fewer than 500,000 still living and we’re losing them at the alarming rate (about 348 per day). We understand and deeply appreciate how their collective sacrifices make it possible for us to enjoy the freedoms we have today, including the freedom to swim, bike, and run.
As Leon often says, we can’t do enough to celebrate the 1 percent that protects the other 99 percent. (I agree 100 percent!)
That’s why I’ll be at Wolf Lake Park in Hammond, IN on June 7, 2020. I’ll be joining other like minded members of the triathlon community in a show of support for our military family, including Doug Marocco and Don White who started a Facebook group to share details about the 25-Year Military Reunion Race.
If you want to combine your passion for the sport of triathlon with your support of veterans, I hope I see you at this very important edition of Leon's upcoming.
[Publisher’s Note: Marcus Robinson is the inventor of the T-Blocks, the innovative bike rack system you see at many triathlons. Above are images of Leon’s, including a vintage image of Leon Wolek with perennial military category winner Doug Marocco, and a recent image with Dave Scott.]