LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
Those looking for a way to spend some quality time outdoors, witness hours upon hours of athletic training put to use, and take in the sights of Laurel County should look no further than this weekend's Laurel Lake Triathlon.
The inaugural event is a half-Ironman, which consists of 1.2 miles of swimming the cool waters of Laurel River Lake, 56 miles of biking through Daniel Boone National Forest, and 13.1 miles of running along Laurel River Lake and Holly Bay Marina. In other words, it's literally leaps and bounds away from an easy task.
The event will see triathletes out in full force as early as 5:30 a.m. to set up their bikes and make sure everything is in fine order. By 7 a.m., participants will be more than ready for the event's 7:30 a.m. start time. Slower participants should finish the race eight to nine hours later while the fastest triathlete may finish in about five hours.
“An Ironman is really just a great day — a 10 hour workday — enjoying the great outdoors,” said Andy Kossen, 41, the Cincinnati resident who, along with his wife Susan, is largely responsible for making the Laurel Lake Triathlon a reality. “So a half Ironman is even easier. It's half a day enjoying the great outdoors.”
For the past couple of weeks, Kossen been answering everyone's emails, marking out bike routes to ensure no participant gets lost, and making sure the swim route is long enough. He's also done his fair share of training at the Laurel River Lake Dam, making sure he has mastered the bike portion of the race.
“This route is a little harder than your average bike ride,” Kossen said. “But it's beautiful.”
According to Kossen, the overall beauty of Laurel County was enough for him to choose Laurel County as a host location. He is, however, weary of the region's intimidating humidity.