On July 16-22, about 200 people from 10 different churches came together to serve others and share Christ during the Ironman USA Lake Placid Triathlon. It was a great week of ministry. As far as the race goes, 2000+ athletes competed in the Ironman, each of them swimming 2.4 miles, riding a bike 112 miles, and running 26.2 miles, all in one day!
The churches who served together included: Oak Grove (Bel Air, MD), Rolling Hills (Buford, GA), Camp Ground (Alto, TX), First Baptist (Springfield, VA), Immanuel (Colonial Heights, VA), Lake Placid Baptist (Lake Placid, NY), Calvary (Canton, NY), Saranac Lake Baptist (Saranac Lake, NY), High Peaks (Saranac Lake, NY), folks from a couple of other churches in the Adirondack Baptist Association.
THU, FRI, SAT, MON, TUE: Serving under the umbrella of North Country Ministries, people from many of the churches helped out in many ways and helped the event to be a huge success. Some of the ways we served on the days before and after the race: helping to register the athletes for the race, setting up tables & chairs & decorating for two banquets for 1700+ people, taking up tickets at the banquets, registering athletes for next year's race, leading kids activities at the volunteer banquet of 1000 people, and breaking down all the tables & chairs after that last banquet. Those were all official volunteer jobs with Ironman.
THU, FRI, SAT: We served in other ways too. We had a North Country Ministries booth in the Expo area, where we gave away free sno cones, face painting and balloon animals. Also, we had our Prayer Station set up to pray with people who came by requesting prayer, and to remind them that we would be praying for them on race day.
SAT: On the day before the race, we hosted a Free Pancake Breakfast for the athletes & their families & anyone else who wanted free pancakes. Almost 1000 people attended. We had wonderful conversations with everyone. We were able to hear some great stories from athletes from all over the world, and were able to tell them about our ministry and about our love for Jesus Christ. Later that evening, we hosted an Iron Prayer worship service at Lake Placid Baptist Church, called the "Ironman Prayer & Celebration Service." Great music from the LPBC Praise Band, great testimonies from Ironman athletes Brad Seng and Carrie Chavez, a great time of prayer for the athletes, and the gospel was presented. About 200 people attended the service, and 11 people indicated that they prayed to ask Christ to be their Lord & Savior! Our friends Randy & Jay from Fellowship of Christian Athletes Endurance http://www.fcaendurance.org/ were in town too to encourage the athletes and help network the Christian endurance athletes.
SUN: Race Day. On race day, it rained, no -- it poured -- all day long. Some communities reported 3-5 inches of rain on that day. Every time it let up a bit, a few minutes later it was a downpour. But, the race goes on, no matter the weather. So, the volunteers are needed too. Our folks served in three different areas. Some of our folks served at the aid station we led on the bike course. The volunteers for this job have to be in very good shape, to sync up with the bikers as they ride by, handing them water or gatorade or food. A few of our folks were road marshalls, helping to keep the roads clear of pedestrians & automobiles so the athletes would be safe. The rest of our group members were at the aid station we led on the run course. There, our guys served the athletes, encouraged the athletes, and prayed for the athletes all day long. Giving them water, gatorade, GU, food and other nutrients, as well as cheering them on and praying for them, our NCM volunteers learned what it was like to serve the way Jesus served. A special thanks also to Rich at http://www.316athleticwear.com/ for providing great Christian music all day and night for the athletes and for our volunteers. Most of the volunteers spent 6+ hours in the pouring rain, wet and cold, but persevering so that others could finish their race. Talk about lessons for life!
Congratulations to Kyle Blackwell and Mike Demerest, two North Country Ministries volunteers this year (and for several years now), who are members of Rolling Hills Baptist Church, who competed in and finished the triathlon this year. Each of them can now say, "I am an Ironman!" You'll see them in the picture below, along with some of their "fans," who are from Oak Grove Baptist Church.Thanks to everyone for all of their ministry during Ironman USA Lake Placid 2008. It was a week we will never forget. To God Be The Glory!