Leon's Triathlon is a historic, short-course racing tradition founded in 1983 by Leon Wolek. Known as “America’s Race,” Leon’s is 100% dedicated to the support and empowerment of the U.S. service men and women, especially injured military veterans.
Hosted each June in Northwest Indiana, just 20 minutes from downtown Chicago, the event is known to be incredibly fast thanks to a flat and traffic-free course.
The first event was held in Leon’s hometown of Hobart, IN. Over the years the triathlon outgrew it’s original location and was invited to move to the Wolf Lake Park location in Hammond by Mayor McDermott. The new, picturesque venue is perfect for multisport use.
Leon’s Triathlon pioneered the first National Amateur Championship, which to this day continues in the sport and is governed by the USA Triathlon Federation. Leon’s also hosted one of the First Military Championships in the sport in 1996. Both were televised on ESPN worldwide.
Race Date: Sunday, June 6, 2021
Event details and schedule
Leon’s Triathlon is far from a one-size-fits-all event. Regardless of athletic experience, physical ability and/or competitive goals, there are a variety of ways to get involved in weekend activities.
The triathlons consist of swimming, biking and running (in that order). Like all triathlons, athletes utilize a secured Transition area to grab their required gear and move from one discipline to the next. The clock begins when each wave starts the swim and ends once each respective athlete crosses the finish line. There are no time breaks during the first or second transition period.
Sunday’s triathlon offers two distance formats. Both race distances are available to individuals and relay teams – where two or three people combine and split-up the three disciplines:
- Sprint Distance: 500 meter swim, 11.6 mile bike, 3.1 mile run (15 total miles)
- Olympic Distance: 1,500 meter swim, 23.2 mile bike, 6.2 mile run (30.3 total miles)
Choose From A Variety Of Divisions
Participants may choose a specific race category (known as “divisions”) to start alongside, indicated during the online enrollment process. Athletes may elect to compete for awards or simply prefer to be “non-competitive” and enjoy the experience with their peers, including:
- Age Groups: All individuals are automatically placed in this category, unless choosing a different division during the registration process. Age groups are subdivided by gender and five-year age increments (e.g. 20-24, 24-29, 30-34, etc.). It is important to note that Age Groups are assigned based on athlete age as of December 31 of race year (thus no changes during the calendar year). Age Group participants compete against their own 5-year peer group.
- Elite Amateurs: Also known as “All Stars,” these are extremely fast, non-professional athletes competing in the Olympic distance. Elite Amateurs start in the first wave, and are subdivided by gender, each of whom must meet (and submit proof of) qualifying times for eligibility:
- Premier Female: 2:30:00 or better
- Premier Male: 2:15:00 or better
- Friends & Family: This new, non-competitive division provides an opportunity for friends and family to enjoy the day together. The Friends and Family group will start toward the end of their respective distances. This group is not eligible for awards.
- First Responders: Known as the “BlueLine Wave,” this division is open to all active duty and retired law enforcement, fire, EMS and non-military personnel. Proof of status must be presented at Packet Pick-Up. First Responder awards are subdivided by gender in both Sprint and Olympic distance.
- Armed Forces: This division is open to all active, retired and veteran military personnel from any branch of service. Proof of status must be presented at Packet Pick Up. Military awards are awarded to the top 3 finishers by gender in both Sprint and Olympic distance.
- 90s Military Reunion Wave: On June 6, Leon’s will host a reunion race to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of hosting the original Military World Championship qualifier. Active duty, retired, and veterans should follow the Leon’s Triathlon Military Reunion group page and be on the lookout for special discounts on race registration, hotel accommodations, and racing kits and/or gear. The group page will be used as a way to provide information on the event, photos of previous years races and an easy way for participants to collaborate with others, meet or reacquaint with former athletes as well as comment on training leading up to race day.
- Athena or Clydesdale: Generally heavier participants may opt-into this division. These athletes are subdivided by gender, each of whom must meet these minimum weight requirements, and will be required to weigh-in prior to competition:
- Athena: 165+ lbs
- Clydesdale: 220+ lbs
- Paratriathlete: Athletes with physical disabilities. Paratriathletes are subdivided by gender, and can be classified by a variety of standards. Typically, we classify Para athletes into these categories:
- Visually Impaired
- Industrial Athletes / Building Trades: New in 2020! This category is open to any active or retired individual who worked within an industrial trade union.
As you can see, a variety of special programs and competitions exist for participants of every ability, interest level and ultimate goal. The event consists of a great balance between world-class athletes and first-time participants. Every athlete is celebrated equally!