LAKE PLACID - If you live along the Ironman triathlon route, expect some cookies to be delivered to your house this morning.
That's one of several efforts the Ironman Foundation is embarking on this week to thank the local community for hosting the event. The foundation also helped with AuSable River cleanup and distributed $55,000 in grant money to local nonprofit groups.
Erin Lockwood, Meghan Henry and other Ironman Foundation / Newton Running Triathlon Team volunteers pack up cookies to distribute to homes along the Ironman triathlon route.
(Photo courtesy of the Ironman Foundation)
Over the last week, Karen Cooper of Lake Placid has taken the lead in baking about 4,000 chocolate chip cookies. Volunteers have helped package them in small paper bags, each with a note that reads, "We understand that all summer long we ride through your neighborhoods, and we sincerely (and sweetly!) thank you for driving safely around us."
This morning, several Ironman Foundation members, as well as a bunch of Ironman athletes who were told about the project and wanted in, will distribute the bags of cookies to the nearly 600 houses along the race route.
"We've got so many people interested and excited about the cookie idea," said David Deschenes, executive director of the Ironman Foundation. "We're just going to break up into small armies."
The team first distributed cookies at this year's Memorial Day race in Wisconsin. The idea was the brainchild of a triathlete there named Jen Anderson.
On Thursday, about a dozen volunteers from a new team called the Ironman Foundation/Newton Running Triathlon Team helped the AuSable River Association with a cleanup project.
Deschenes said he got the idea from Cali Brooks, executive director of the Adirondack Community Trust. He had approached ACT to get ideas for service projects in advance of Sunday's triathlon, and that sounded like the best fit.
"It just sounded like a great project," Deschenes said. He said he knew there was severe flooding along the AuSable when Tropical Storm Irene hit in 2011, and "it directly impacts us because our entire course is in the AuSable River watershed."
One of the best things about Lake Placid's Ironman race is the natural beauty of the area, and Deschenes said his group was pleased to do something to improve and preserve that.
So a dozen members of the team, hailing from all over the U.S., headed to Rivermede Farm in Keene Valley Thursday morning to help restore Rock Cut Park, which has been used for a decade as a staging area for the 2012 Rivermede river restoration project. They distributed topsoil, leveled ground and laid feed to revitalize the area, said Deschenes, who participated in the work. He said most of the volunteers have office jobs, so the manual labor was a nice change of pace.
"It's different from what we're all probably used to," Deschenes said. "It was great for us as athletes to give back."
The foundation also gave the AuSable River Association $6,000 to complete the project, Deschenes said. That was one of several grants the Ironman Foundation Community Fund distributed throughout the Lake Placid community, totaling $55,000.
Others include $5,000 to the Lake Placid Central School District to help install new digital projects in elementary school classrooms and $10,000 to volunteer fire and rescue squads across the region, since many local first-responder organizations are volunteer based.
Since the first Ironman Lake Placid in 1999, the foundation has given a total of $1.5 million to support the needs of the community, according to a foundation press release.
Contact Jessica Collier at 518-891-2600 ext. 26 or firstname.lastname@example.org.