The New Orleans Saints threw their support behind the third annual Ochsner Ironman 70.3 New Orleans triathlon event present by Elmwood fitness center throughout the weekend,
Despite being only three years old, the Ironman event attracts participants from throughout the world and brings attention to the Crescent City, as well as an intense challenge to the athletes. The event consists of a 1.2 mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1 mile run finishing in the French Quarter. While the swimming aspect of the competition was cancelled due to dangerously high winds in Lake Ponchatrain, the low humidly provided ideal conditions for the event.
The Saints organization provided their support to the event and its participants throughout the weekend. On Friday, team ambassador Michael Lewis appeared at the pre-race expo in downtown New Orleans, where participants picked up race bags, numbers and were able to purchase equipment and gear. Lewis, a former Pro Bowl return man, also provided encouragement to the athletes.
On Sunday morning, the Saints set up shop on Moss Street in Mid-City outside of Our Lady of Holy Rosary Church. Approximately 30 Saints staff members and family members volunteered four hours apiece in two shifts to man one of several aid stations throughout the course. At the aid station, the volunteers handed out water and other drinks to runners as well as giving them fruit, candy and other snacks to help them replenish themselves for the stretch run of their route at which point they were heading to the French Quarter. Even Gumbo and Sir Saint appeared to provide support and encouragement.
"The Saints are committed to promoting health and wellness in our region and have partnered with Ochsner on a number of programs to promote healthy lifestyles and fitness," said Owner/Executive Vice President Rita Benson LeBlanc. "We are proud to support Ochsner's title sponsorship of yet another world class sporting event in New Orleans. Our high quality health care is key to peace of mind and events like the Ochsner Ironman 70.3 New Orleans add to the outdoor spice of our unique quality of life in New Orleans."