LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — With the inaugural Laurel Lake Triathlon less than seven months away, local athletes have been stepping up their training regimens. For the first time in its history, Laurel County will showcase what it means for athletes to swim, bike and run to the best of their ability.
The triathlon will be held on July 12. It’s a half-Ironman, which consists of 1.2 miles of swimming, 56 miles of biking, and 13.1 miles of running. In other words, it’s literally leaps and bounds away from an easy task.
For local athletes Mark Ramsey and Ed Stanko, the upcoming race represents a chance to push the limits of their own ability and expose the sport to friends.
Corbin resident Mark Ramsey, 47, has competed in several running events over the years and even a few sprint triathlons this past summer and fall, an event Ramsey refers to as fun. He’s also a regular member of the Cumberland Valley Cycling Club, which should give him a bit of an edge when competing this summer.
“People are going to be surprised by the bike course,” Ramsey said. “It’s really hilly.”
An electrician at CSX by trade, Ramsey devotes 10-15 hours a week to training in a two-day span. This includes swimming 2.5 to 3 miles, running at least 10 miles, and biking 50 to 100 miles. Most – often all – of this is done during Ramsey’s “weekend” that falls on Wednesday and Thursday.
According to Ramsey, such hard work is simply paying required dues. He has no problem visiting the actual course and getting to know it down to the last detail. The Corbin triathlete has already ridden the bike portion five times.
“To be in the right kind of shape, you need to spend the right amount of time getting into it,” Ramsey said. “That’s the hardest part. I don’t have any kids at home – they’re all grown up. And my wife, Sandy, runs marathons with me; she’s signed up to be a kayaking volunteer at the Tri.”