CLEARWATER - The racecourse is mapped and athletes of all abilities are gearing up to swim, bike and run in the first ever Morton Plant Mease Triathlon. The inaugural race, sponsored by Morton Plant Mease Health Care, kicks off at 7 a.m. on Sunday, July 16, at Sand Key Park, 1060 Gulf Blvd., Clearwater. The race will feature a 1/3-mile open water swim in the scenic Gulf of Mexico, a 13-mile bike ride over the Sand Key, Belleair Causeway and Memorial Causeway Bridges and a 3.1 mile flat, fast run along Sand Key's Gulf Blvd. and finishing at Sand Key Park. The event will help raise funds for the Morton Plant Mease Foundation and the four hospitals of Morton Plant Mease Health Care, all community-owned facilities dedicated to health care research, diagnostics and patient-centered care.
Appearing at the Morton Plant Mease Triathlon will be Spencer Smith, three-time World Triathlon Champion and two-time Ironman champion. Also appearing - Marc Bonnet-Eymard, 2006 St. Anthony's Triathlon Overall Amateur Champion and Heather Gollnick, three-time Ironman Champion, former national and world champion at both the Duathlon and Triathlon level, and mother of three.
A $3,000 prize purse will be distributed to the top five elite male and female finishers. Custom plaques will be distributed to the top five finishers in the following categories: 14 years and younger; 15-19; 20-25 and upward in five-year increments to 85 years, 85 and older; Clydesdale; Athena; Novice; Skip Cline member; and physically challenged. All race finishers will receive custom medals. In addition to individual competitors, relay teams are also invited to participate. USA Triathlon sanctions the event.
Race entry fees are as follows:
Participants will receive a goody bag and race t-shirt. To register for the Morton Plant Mease Triathlon, log on to active.com or contact Philip LaHaye at (727) 820-7791.
You may also participate in the race by becoming a volunteer. Volunteers are needed to assist with registration, distribute water to athletes and assist at the finish line. Volunteers are needed July 15 and 16 and can sign up by calling (727) 820-7790.
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