By Michael Wetzel, Assistant sports editor, The Decatur Daily
Leah Brown admits she has a problem. But it’s a good problem to have.
The executive director of the local Big Brothers Big Sisters program is forced to turn away entrants into the agency’s 11th annual Wet Dog Triathlon set for Saturday morning.
For the first time in the Point Mallard event’s history, it is sold out, she said.
“We have a 600-person limit,” Brown said Wednesday afternoon. “We hit that number Tuesday, and I’ve already had to turn away about eight to 10 people, and I know more will be trying to get in. I hate to turn anyone away. But we’ve got a full field.”
The triathlon, which includes a 400-meter swim, 15-kilometer bike race and 5-kilometer run, is the Big Brothers Big Sisters largest fund raiser of the year, she said.
Last year’s Wet Dog drew 508 participants, Brown said. She said the inaugural Wet Dog event 11 years ago attracted 87 athletes.
She credits the event’s growing success on the more than 65 hard-working volunteers, the Decatur Jaycees and local organizations such as the Morgan County Rescue Squad and Decatur Parks and Recreation.
Back this year is last year’s winner Jonathan Krichev of Huntsville. He covered the three-sport distance in 46 minutes, 30 seconds. Huntsville’s Tina Eakin won the women’s event in 2009 with a 50:48 time and is not in this year’s field.
Trying to better those times will be athletes from 11 states and two countries, Brown said.
She said two athletes from Army-Asia and another from Army-Europe have entered. “We’ve got entries from California, Texas, Louisiana and Florida, too,” Brown said.
The athletes will begin at the Point Mallard beach area by swimming 400 meters in the Tennessee River. The biking portion will begin in the parking lot of the Aquatic Center. The athletes will bicycle to Rhodes Ferry Park and back. The 5K run will be along the running trail at Point Mallard with the finish line being in the parking lot of the T.C. Almon Recreation Center.
Starting the triathlon at 7 a.m. will be master of ceremonies and new Decatur police chief Ed Taylor.
Spectator admission is free of charge.
The local Big Brothers Big Sisters agency serves Morgan, Lawrence, Winston and Cullman counties.
Didn’t get in?
The 11th annual Wet Dog
Triathlon is sold out, but you can still donate to the event’s charity agency, Big Brothers Big Sisters. You can send your donation to Big Brothers Big Sisters, P.O. Box 2171, Decatur, AL 35602 or you can telephone 256-353-0157.