By: Jennifer Henderson
MILLVILLE, N.J. — Luck filtered through abundant sunshine and nearly perfect weather for Laurel Lake’s 4th annual triathlon on Saturday, July 27. The event, held in memory of William Laubengeyer, brings community volunteers and athletes together each year to challenge themselves and support each other.
Runners, swimmers, and cyclists, most participating in all three areas, gathered to swim a quarter-mile in the freshwater lake before jumping onto their bikes for 13.6 miles down a scenic tree-lined route with a side view of the lake, glittered by the sun, before taking part in a 5K run to complete the event.
The morning included a triathlon, duathlon, aquabike, and triathlon and duathlon relays. In attendance, were athletes of all ages, working as hard as they could to beat the clock and achieve their personal best. Over 200 individuals participated, showering each other with continuous praise and encouragement, a sign of the support that appears to be a common theme in this small Millville lakeside neighborhood.
There was also a special appearance by Ainsley’s Angels this year. Ainsley’s Angel’s has 60 chapters throughout the nation and provides children with special needs the opportunity to experience the rush of endurance racing. Ambassador of the South Jersey Chapter, Dave Goldstein, has two special needs sons, and after running three years by himself, he began running with his son, Josh, in a makeshift chair.
After seeing how happy running a 10K together made his son, Goldstein contacted Ainsley’s Angels to fundraise for a chair for Josh and began helping bring the experiences to other children.
The pair recently took part in the Love Run in Philly which was Josh’s 50th race. Goldstein says, “I get a lot of joy in bringing this to other kids in the area. It’s a fun outlet. The kids like to get in the chairs and go fast and they’re included in something they usually wouldn’t do.”
The children are provided with the chance to enjoy the “runner’s high,” be out with the crowd, cross the finish line and are awarded their own finisher’s medals.
Throughout the race, one could sense the teamwork, encouragement, and sense of community, with over 30 volunteers helping to provide water, directions, and, most importantly, a warm welcome and encouragement. Nate Sharp of the Laurel Lake Property Owner’s Association says, “We had another successful year and the LLPOA looks forward to further success and support from the members and surrounding communities for years to come.”
The Laurel Lake Triathlon/Duathlon/Aquabike is held annually in July. Results can be found at trisignup.com.
For more information about the triathlon, other year-round events and membership information for the LLPOA, visit llpoa.com.