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Open swim race proposed for Olander Park


A swimming race has been proposed for the lake at Olander Park.

The Blade
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Athletes may have another marathon event to add to their list of yearly races, as Olander Park Commissioners consider hosting an open water swim at Lake Olander in 2015.

Park commissioners are considering a proposal for a 5K run and one-mile open water swim race. The proposed event, named Lucky Ducky, would benefit Nature’s Nursery Center for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation Education in Whitehouse.

Melissa Shaner of Happy Hours Event Management of Toledo proposed the event at the last Olander commissioners' meeting.

“It would be run similar to the Sylvania Triathlon,” she said.

Park officials are expected to make a decision within a month.

The Sylvania Triathlon, scheduled for Aug. 10, is organized by the multi-sport management company Elite Endeavors of Sylvania and draws at least 500 athletes to Olander. Ms. Shaner said this open swim event would be the first of its kind in the area, noting that Chelsea, Mich. and Cleveland host similar swim races.

Most likely the event would be held in July, 2015, she said, and she would aim for at least 100 participants the first year.

Commissioner John Zeitler asked how it would impact the park.

Ms. Shaner said the event would be from 8 a.m. until noon, and the park could remain open.

Park Director Erika Buri said park officials need to consider whether a fee would be assessed for races held at the park to pay for set up and for cleaning up litter afterward. However, she seemed to support the event and Nature's Nursery. 

“Nature’s Nursery is a great community organization to benefit from the event. It is an opportunity for Olander to elevate its visibility with another event beyond the triathlon,” she said.

Ms. Shaner, also a Nature’s Nursery board member, presented proposal detailing management and purpose of race day. The proposal includes hosting a barbecue afterward in Nederhouser Community Hall, where patrons could “meet and greet” animals that are part of the organization's educational program. There would also be a mascot on hand, called Rudy the Lucky Ducky.

The organizers hope to have the event sanctioned by the USA Triathlon, the governing body for triathlons in the United States, or World Open Water Swimming Association, an organization which helps provide race logistics and insurance. Also, Elite Endeavors, who have been hosting a triathlon at Olander Park for more than 30 years, could be approached about providing consulting services and equipment.

Olander Park lifeguards would be employed to oversee the race.

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356, or, or on Twitter @natalietrusso. 

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