Crossing finish line: citizens compete in local triathlon

By: Jacquie Miles

Approximately 1200 people participated in the 17th Annual Santa Rosa Island Triathlon held last Saturday morning, October 6, at Pensacola Beach. Beginning with a 600 yard swim, participants took to 76 degree waters for the first leg of a three part race.

“This was my first one, so I started out barely knowing how to swim,” said LaDonna Spivey, certified personal trainer and Pensacola Voice columnist.  “I swam 600 meters, so it felt great because I accomplished something that I never thought I could.”

According to Spivey, to prepare for the swimming portion, she trained about five hours a week. Her days began at 5:30 a.m. where she swam for about an hour and a half.

Spivey allotted just a couple of weekly hours for biking and running during her preparation period for the event admitting she is “in-shape” in those areas.

“I wasn’t racing for time, I just wanted to finish,” Spivey said. “My time was one hour, 59 minutes and eight seconds – making my personal goal of under two hours. I was at the bottom of my heat in this race and I plan on doing this again.”

The second segment of the race was biking where participants competed in an 18 mile trek.

Kevin Sanders, a graphic designer for the Pensacola News Journal, was also a competitor in the triathlon.
“This is my fist triathlon also,” Sanders said. “I’ve always wanted to do this … my fear was the swimming.  I’m an avid runner and got bored with the run. I run downtown and it usually takes me about 25-26 minutes.”

Kevin, who has been running since 2002, averages about 3.5 miles on all four days he runs during the week.
“I definitely plan to do another triathlon,” Kevin said. “I’m looking for another (race) to participate in now.  He completed the event with an overall time of one hour and 47 minutes.

Four bicycles were given away after the event along with $1000 going to the first place winner, $350 for the second place winner and $150 for third place.

Emerald Coast Sports Massage Institute was on hand offering free massages to the entrants. Carrabba’s Italian Grill catered the event providing hot lunches to the triathletes and supporters.

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