Katy, TX (September 28, 2016)
What: 24th Annual Katy Triathlon at Firethorne in Katy/Fulshear
When: Sunday, October 2, 7 – 11 a.m. (North Firethorne Road to close at 5:30 a.m.; swim leg begins at 7:30 a.m.)
Where: In and around Firethorne, a 1,400-acre master-planned community on 28100 N. Firethorne Rd. at FM 1463
Course: 500-meter lake swim, 12-mile bike race, and 3-mile run
Hosts: Rotary Club of Katy and City of Katy
Athletes: Triathlon relay teams may be 2- or 3-person all male, all female or co-ed. The youngest age category is 11-14, with age categories going up to 70+.
Temp: 65 degrees at the starting time
While every Katy Triathlon participant has a story, here are some for your consideration:
- 50 Collegiate Triathletesfrom Texas A&M and University of Texas, among others
- Jeff Gill– 61, a resident of Firethorne pursuing his 388thcareer triathlon AND he will serve as a guide to Brandon Adame, a blind athlete who will be tethered to Jeff for the swim and run and they will ride tandem for the cycling leg
- Al Garcia, 57, This Firethorne (Katy/Fulshear) resident played baseball and football at Houston’s Robert E. Lee High School and went on to play intramural sports at University of Texas-Austin, where he earned degrees in biology (undergrad) and microbiology (Masters.) Post-college, he lost his focus on exercise. When his wife’s brother died of a heart attack at age 33, Al got the “wake-up call.” His wife, Tara, started running regularly and entered the El Paso Energy Half-Marathon. The next year, Al did his first half-marathon. In the first two years of his new fitness regime, he lost 55 pounds. Eleven years later, he has completed more than 55 half marathons in locations all across the country. He’ll be doing this fifth Katy Triathlon at Firethorne.
- Marc Vignocchi, 34, Marc is a project manager with Transocean, a former Navy Reservist and has his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Marine Engineering Systems from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY. Marc grew up around the water in Sarasota, FL, where he was a competitive swimmer and rower. (His mom was a swimmer in high school and college and went on to be a swim coach for Boys & Girls Clubs.) His senior year in high school, he was the captain of the swimming and diving team. In college, he was on the rowing team all four years. It was a year-round sport, even in NY state. In winter, they rowed indoors on rowing machines! In 2014, Marc entered his first MS 150 ride and his fellow cyclists suggested he join them in a triathlon as their next race.
- Lance LaCour:President of the Katy Economic Development Council will be doing his third Katy Triathlon. Now in his late 40s, he was an elite triathlete in college and in his 20s. In 1989 he won his age group in the famed Heart of Dixie triathlon near DeKalb, MS, with a race time of 2 hrs., 16 min. After grad school and getting his first job in 1991, he cut back on triathlons and started doing serious cycling races. Eventually, he focused more on his career and family and quit competing and pretty much quit exercising. Last year he decided he wanted to get back into shape and started training to compete in a triathlon again. In July of last year, he returned to DeKalb, MS to enter the Heart of Dixie Triathlon — 25 years after his last race there. He finished it in 2 hrs., 53 minutes! (Lance is 5′ 11″. As an elite athlete he weighed 165 lbs. Today: 195 lbs.)
- Leo Bourgeois, Jr.: Went from an inactive, morbidly obese (over 400 lbs.) individual to a vibrant elite athlete and coach. In fact, this Sunday, theAssistant Director of the City of Houston Public Works, will embark on his third Katy Triathlon at Firethorne. His previous races were in 2012 and 2013, which is pretty remarkable considering that in 2011, he weighed at 415 pounds. Today, he is an Ironman Ambassador who weighs just over 200 pounds.
Beneficiary: Rotary Club of Katy, founded in 1946, has raised approximately $380,000 for its community service projects since taking over the Katy Triathlon in 1998. In July, the Club will present 15 deserving Katy ISD high school graduates each with a $1,500 scholarship at its annual college scholarship luncheon.
Spokesperson: Vicki Rao, Coordinator, Katy Triathlon at Firethorne
Volunteers: The Rotary Club of Katy organizes more than 50 of its own member-volunteers, plus 100 more volunteers from such service clubs as Rotary Interact Club, Katy West Houston Rotaract Club, Boy Scouts and Katy VFW.
To tour Firethorne, take I-10 West and exit Pin Oak to FM 1463, call 281-693-1011, or visit www.firethorne.info.