About 250 people kayaked, biked and ran their way through a unique triathlon race

By Chuck Gibson

LOVELAND, OH (September 15, 2021) – The weather was near perfect for the annual Loveland Frogman race which features kayaking, cycling and running for a unique triathlon experience.

Meredith Taylor, LMRCA, and Mark Bersani Loveland Canoe & Kayak with “The Frogman” mascot before the Frogman Race Saturday, 9/11/21 in Loveland (Chuck Gibson)

Meredith Taylor and Cee Cee Collins of the Little Miami River Chamber Alliance (LMRCA) were joined by a whole lot of community volunteers and partners in putting on one of the best Frogman Race events ever. About 250 people came out for the fun event racing 5 miles down the Scenic Little Miami River in a kayak (either single or tandem) then riding 8 miles roundtrip on the trail before finishing up with a 5K run which took them down the trail into the Miami Riverside Park and back again.

“It was a record-breaking year,” said Taylor. “We had to close registration labor day with almost 250 participants.”

The number of people allowed to participate is dictated by the number of kayaks available for the event. In this case, the Loveland Canoe & Kayak (LC&K) “goon squad” crew moved 125 kayaks and 60 tandem kayaks to the launch site at Fosters.

These are guys LC&K owner Mark Bersani says came back from college to help out for the Frogman event 9/11 weekend.

“Gotta give a shout out to all the guys – the goon squad,” said Bersani. “The crew came back to do this event. They’re just a bunch of hard working guys. It’s beautiful, perfect weather, sunny, warm, not too humid; a great day for the race.”

While Bersani and his wife Robyn are both very appreciative of the crew – they went to five weddings this year of past year’s crew members – Meredith Taylor is equally appreciative of the partnership with LC&K and the work the crew does.

Loveland Canoe & Kayak had the kayaks at the ready for the Frogman Race (Chuck Gibson)

“Loveland Canoe & Kayak is a great partner,” Taylor said. “We literally could not do this without them. They work so hard. I told Mark before I’ve never seen the goon squad standing around.”

Taylor credited lots of community partners for volunteering to make the event possible and cited members of the LHS wrestling team for helping along with a special partnership with Loveland Schools this year helping transport participants to the Foster’s kayak launch site. There was also a newcomer this year with Narrow Path Brewing hosting the “after party” for racers.

“We want to make sure it’s a good experience for everybody,” said Taylor.

It was a good experience for Mike Stella and Sam Lorio, two buddies who finally got it together to come out and join in the Frogman race after talking about doing it for years.

Mike Stella and Sam Lorio were up for the challenge of The “mysterious” Frogman Race (Chuck Gibson)

“I like a challenge,” said Lorio. “My two boys did the Frog about five years ago. I’m hoping if I subtract my weight and my age my time will be better than theirs. It was good.”

Lorio said the hardest part was the first mile of the run, had fun kayaking five miles keeping a good pace and enjoyed the cycling drafting behind his friend Mike Stella. Surprisingly, the easiest part for him was the last mile of the run. Stella tossed in his understanding of the Loveland Frogman Story.

“Frogman is very mysterious,” said Stella. “It’s a good coffee brew at Mile 42 Coffee.  The Finish (was the best part) and the second part on the bike was good, had somebody to draft off of. 

The event did take place on Saturday, 9/11/21; the 20th anniversary of September 11, 2001. Organizers for the Frogman race paused to remember. 

“We did have a moment of silence at the beginning which I thought was classy,” Stella said. “We saw some runners with flags. That was classy. I wish Sam and I thought of it, or wore red, white and blue.”

First kayaker out of the water with an early lead in the Loveland Frogman Race Saturday, 9/11/21 (Chuck Gibson)

Taylor said the motivation for the event is to bring people to Loveland to see the great business and nature in the community.

“You can’t have one without the other,” she concluded. “We drew people from Youngstown, OH and from Indiana, so we had a wider range of participants.”

Bersani talked about the Frogman tradition and LC& K being part of that tradition and part of the Loveland community.

Hardworking members of the LC&K “Goon Squad” ready to assist during the Frogman Race Saturday, 9/11/21 (Chuck Gibson)

“Frogman is part of the Loveland heritage,” Bersani said. “We believe we’re (LC&K) part of this community. Getting involved, helping create awareness for this great city we have. I think the Frogman is a great way to showcase it; see the river, see the bike trail, see all the shops and restaurants. I think a lot of people enjoy it. It’s a different way to enjoy a triathlon.”

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