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Triathletes to take over Siesta Key

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  • | 4:00 a.m. May 10, 2012
This map depicts the designated route for the 10K run in the sand.
This map depicts the designated route for the 10K run in the sand.
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About 800 triathletes are expected to compete in the Florida International Triathlon this Saturday on Siesta Key.

The area’s largest charitable triathlon is in its seventh year; and this year, it is being run by volunteers from the local Sarasota Storm Triathlon Club.

The race is set to start at 7 a.m., but there could be a short delay, because Mote Marine experts must first mark the newest turtle nests. International triathlon participants will begin with a 1,500-meter swim in the Gulf of Mexico, followed by a 26-mile bicycle portion that takes them on two-loop course on paved Key roads. The competition ends with a 10K run in the sand. The sand-run has been adjusted to avoid disruption of the endangered snowy plovers.

Participants will not be receiving the usual paper advertisements and specials in their goody bags this year. Instead, they will get their information via email on the day of the event. Through the new electronic program, sponsors will eliminate printing costs, and the athletes will receive special day-of-event coupons, encouraging them to visit local restaurants and businesses after the race. Race Director David Strehlow said he expects “a Groupon effect, especially among businesses which offer the most attractive discounts on race day.”

In keeping with the electronic age, there is even a FIT phone app called FITTTRI that is available for free on iTunes.

This year, the race will also be a special qualifier for the national competition in Vermont.

This requires that members of the USATriathlon organization be in attendance to register athletes and to present special awards for those athletes who qualify for nationals. The top 20% in each age group category in the international distance race will qualify for the national championships.

FIT is one of only two races in the state to be awarded with this qualifier status.

While many of the people participating will be competing in the international distance triathlon, FIT will also have a SPRINT triathlon and a duathlon.

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