Otter Attack Victim Revisits Island Lake in Buzz Ryan Triathlon

By KBJR News 1

July 22, 2012 Updated Jul 22, 2012 at 10:55 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northlands NewsCenter)
-- Blue skies and perfect conditions greeted some of the Northlands most elite athletes at the First Annual Buzz Ryan Triathlon. The race took place on Island Lake, where, just over a week ago, an Anoka woman was attacked by an otter.

But Leah Prodhomme didn't allow her run in with this angry animal to stop her from competing today.

There's a distinct tone surrounding the Buzz Ryan Triathlon.

"There's a little bit of buzz around the buzz because the otter girl is here today and she's getting back in the water and we think that's great," said first time triathlon participant Linda Craft.

The "otter girl," Leah Prudhomme, was given that name after being attacked, and bitten 25 times by, an otter.

"I can't say that that I don't have a little bit of gut instinct that might be a little bit apprehensive, some anxiety there," said Prudhomme.

Her wetsuit tells the story of this infamous creature, which is covered with the otter bites. But, after recovering and receiving rabies shots for her wounds, Prudhomme is stepping back into Island Lake, with little fear.

"I'm going to have fun and watch my fellow competitors that are going to be around me and hopeful not stop and tread water to long and just make it a good swim," said Prudhomme.

In the elite grouping, Prudhomme dove in and got out of Island Lake without running into her any otters

And finished the race hoping her story can inspire others.

"I'm just going to use this race as a stepping stone to conquer some fear and if anything just get out there and motivate people and encourage them," said Prudhomme.

"Just to know that she has the confidence to continue on in the same lake after an attack as such, that would be really scary so it actually brings down my nerves as well and having her here and seeing her enthusiasm," said Tiffany Carlson, who has been in many triathlons.

Brain Bich took first place in the first Buzz Ryan Triathlon, posting a time of around one hour and three minutes.