Triathletes prepare to open race season in St. Pete

After weeks of anticipation, the St. Anthony’s Triathlon returns to St. Petersburg this weekend on Sunday, April 29, kicking off the triathlon season in North America and drawing competitors from around the world to swim, bike, and run through the bay area.

This event has been, along with the Grand Prix and the Tampa Bay Rays baseball season, one of St. Petersburg’s signature sporting events for years. The athletes compete for cash prizes and the race has been named “Race of the Year” by USA Triathlon, according to the event’s website.

Triathlon competitors are amazing people, if only for the amount of work they put it to compete in these races. Some of the best overachievers of any sport, the amount of preparation a triathlete undergoes can be intimidating, as even an amateur’s workout routine can leave anyone who spends an hour in the gym every day running in place while watching ESPN on the flat screen and lifting weights feel like they’re underperforming.

And with good reason. Triathletes have to swim 1.5 kilometers, jump out of the water and bike 40 kilometers, then transition off the bikes and run another 10 kilometers all in the same day. A recent profile of a local triathlete’s preparation for this weekend’s competition made some people itchy about upping their workout routine.

Although registration for this year’s competition has already closed, the event promises an entire weekend of fun activities. While arrival and registration will start on Friday, another race will take place on Saturday, April 28, as a kind of warm up for Sunday’s big event. The Meek and Mighty Triathlon will feature two heats, one for everybody ages 15 and older, the other for athletes between the ages of seven and ten. Between races, a sports expo will be open at Straub Park and will feature Caribbean music.

Be warned: this is a popular event and the race course goes through parts of St. Petersburg, so be prepared for roads being closed. Both races start early, so plan on getting up early and check the event schedule on the website if you plan to attend.

29 years’ worth of triathlon races in a bay area city is an amazing run for such a grueling and popular sport. Anyone planning to compete or has done so in the past? Share your story with us and let us know how this year’s event compares to past events. If Triathlons are not your thing, then maybe you would be interested in watching the Tampa Bay Dragon Boat Race at this years’ Asian Fest event? 

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