Harrow welcome sign honours triathlete Lionel Sanders

Filed under: Headline,In Our Community |

by Adam Gault

The Town of Essex recognized Harrow native, and world-class triathlete, Lionel Sanders on Wednesday, November 1. During an official celebration, a new town welcome sign was unveiled in Harrow, which honours his 2016 world record Ironman Triathlon completion.

“Today we are honoured to recognize one of our fastest and most tenacious citizens,” Essex Mayor Ron McDermott said, welcoming guests to the unveiling ceremony. “In the world of sports, Lionel Sanders is a world-class athlete, who continuously exceeds all expectations.”

The Essex Municipal “Harrow Centre” sign is located at the corner of Walker Road and the 3rd Concession. It now features an addition that recognizes Sanders’s previously held world-record time of 7:44:29 at the 2016 Ironman Arizona, where he beat the record that had stood strong for five years prior.

Sanders most recently came in second in the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii on October 14.

“It’s a real honour for me, I grew up in this town, I love this town,” Sanders said as the sign was unveiled. “This is a dream come true, really; this is what I’m living my life for, to inspire people to do the best they can do.”

Describing how growing up in Harrow played a large role in making him into the determined athlete he is today, Sanders spoke of his experiences in working with stone masons at a summer job he held in high school.

“Those are some of the toughest guys I ever met working in that industry,” Sanders said. “I really do reflect back on those experiences and draw on those experiences now, and I try to strive to be as tough as I can be.”

Sanders also cycled 10 km each way to work at the Harrow Research and Development Centre at the end of high school, as well as back-and-forth between Harrow and Colchester.

“Just tons and tons of experiences that I still draw upon today,” Sanders said.

After overcoming addiction issues several years ago, and focusing his energy on excelling at his sport, Sanders hopes he’ll serve as inspiration to those who themselves are struggling to turn their lives around and break their own bad habits.

“I hope they take this as proof that you can do anything you want, I truly believe that with hard work and perseverance, and you truly want to do whatever it is you want to do, you can do it.”

Sanders will compete at the Ironman Arizona Triathlon on November 19.