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Fort Lee Mayor, Council Recognize Ironman Volunteers, Athletes

Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich issued proclamations to members of the Fort Lee Regional Chamber of Commerce, who took a lead role in coordinating hundreds of volunteers, and a local athlete who competed—and finished—the race on Aug. 11.

It was Aug. 11, 2012, and about 2,500 athletes from around the world competed in the , jumping into the Hudson River to begin a 2.5-mile swim ending at Ross’s Dock in Fort Lee, where they hopped on their bikes for a 112-mile leg along the Palisades Interstate Parkway and then made the transition—again in Fort Lee—to the 26.2-mile run that would ultimately end at Manhattan’s Riverside Park after crossing the George Washington Bridge

The competition was marred by tragedy when an during the swimming portion of the race, but that didn’t stop race organizers and local officials from hailing the event as a success.

On Thursday, the Fort Lee Mayor and Council issued several proclamations recognizing competitors and especially the many volunteers who played an integral role in making that true.

“We were truly the host community for this event, and it was readily apparent to everyone that when we agreed to do this, it was imperative that certain folks run with it—make sure that volunteers were organized, make sure that Fort Lee was represented the way we expect Fort Lee to be represented because we’re very proud—and the folks that stand to my right are three individuals that ran with it,” Sokolich said, referring to Ranee and Craig Weinstein, co-chairs of the Ironman committee for the Fort Lee Regional Chamber of Commerce (FLRCC), and Margaret Maclay, the Chamber’s new executive director.

“They were very instrumental in the coordination of volunteers and just making sure that everything went smoothly,” Sokolich said. “It was an incredible and festive event.”

The proclamation, which Sokolich read aloud, said in part, “By many accounts, Aug. 11 was one of the most historic days in the 108-year history of the borough.”

“I absolutely agree with that,” Sokolich interjected.

The FLRCC in planning for the events surrounding the Ironman, to help man its runners’ aid station and spectator area near the corner of Hudson Terrace and Bruce Reynolds Boulevard and perform various other tasks, from setting up early in the morning to breaking things down at the end of the day.

“Without your tireless efforts and without your participation, this would have been just another race with folks going over our pavement,” Sokolich said Thursday. “But you didn’t do it that way; you put a special personal touch on it.”

Sokolich also recognized some of the athletes who actually competed in the race, including eventual male and female winners, Jordan Rapp and Mary Beth Ellis, neither of whom could be at Borough Hall Thursday. Instead, the mayor said, proclamations would be sent to the two athletes.

But it was the proclamation Sokolich issued to Fort Lee resident Max Almenas that drew the most applause Thursday.

Almenas finished his first full Ironman in 16 hours, 28 minutes and three seconds, competing on home turf.

“Not only is he a reporter, not only is he a journalist, not only is he a web master, he is also a triathlon athlete,” Sokolich said, congratulating Almenas.

The proclamation itself, Sokolich said, would be made “a permanent part of the public records of the Borough of Fort Lee.”

The Ironman will not however be returning to the area next year, the organization announced Friday afternoon.

Maxim Almenas September 14, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Very cool to be honored, especially in the company of the hard working and dedicated crew from the Fort Lee Regional Chamber of Commerce and the volunteer team. I also feel the Mayor and Council should be commended. When Korff Enterprises and Ironman asked to bring the event to the Borough, which meant closing down several streets and utilizing emergency services including Fort Lee police, fire, and EMT, they could have said no. Instead, they embraced the event which was more than 7 years in the making and added another milestone to Fort Lee history. Please come to Assembly Steak House and Seafood Grill, Oct 5, from 6pm-8pm, as we honor the mayor and council, the chamber, sponsors, volunteers, athletes and emergency service members for making the Ironman a success. The event will also serve as a fundraiser to benefit medical research for Alzheimer's disease: https://www.facebook.com/events/426416297395121/ And a special thanks to Erik Wander for great coverage before, during, and after the Ironman event!
Baba O'Riley September 14, 2012 at 08:10 PM
It is always great to see Fort Lee in a positive light. It would be unfortunate if the event does not come back (to Fort Lee) in the future.
Luca D. September 14, 2012 at 08:21 PM
Congratulations Maxim
William Mays September 14, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Congrats to all the Fort Lee athletes, sad to see that they won't be holding it in Fort Lee in 2013.
Maxim Almenas September 14, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Thanks Luca. Unfortunately, Ironman announced today it's NOT coming back to the metro area: http://ironman.com/mediacenter/ironman-discontinues-aquadraat-sports-ironman-u.s.-championship#axzz26TObTSfz
Toni M. September 15, 2012 at 05:10 AM
Awesome honor Max, sorry to hear about them not coming back, that stinks.
Al Norton September 15, 2012 at 01:13 PM
Well done Max, Ranee ,Craig and Margaret, and all those who participated.Even if only for once it was a big deal!!!
Maxim Almenas September 15, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Thanks Toni and Al! It does stinks, but I think other race organizers will see Fort Lee and several towns between here and Bear Mountain can serve as a venue for future world class triathlons. (Field of Dreams) "Build it and they will come."
Andrey Postoyanets September 15, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Max, congratulations! I can't imagine how proud you were to become an Ironman on your home turf! And it's really amazing how our community came together to bring such a positive exposure to Fort Lee.
Steve Goldstein September 16, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Hopefully a mini-triathlon can be staged in this immediate area, NYC having dropped out of the Ironman.
Henry Cooper September 17, 2012 at 02:44 AM
Please do not do it again: Not Well Done! Do you realize that based upon anticipated traffic closing notices and traffic warnings, we closed our Hair Salon business for this event. This closing was valued in excess of several thousand dollars of income. Wrong day !!!!!!! Wrong distruption of local business operations. Wake up residents, it cost your local and adjoining boro business"s loss of income fof thatr day. Please do not take credit for this event. You wanted the exposure in-lieu-of local business operations. Henry Cooper Henry Cooper

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