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Triathlon

Crystal River triathlon series ready to start another season

Sunday's event at Fort Island Gulf Beach opens three-race competition.

By LARRY BUGG
Published May 27, 2005


Triathletes will need to keep directions to Crystal River and Fort Island Gulf Beach this summer.

The Crystal River Sprint Triathlon Series starts with Sprint 1 on Sunday. The race at Fort Island Gulf Beach is scheduled for 7:30 a.m.

All three triathlons will be under DRC Sports Athletic Event Management for the first time.

"We have been running these races on behalf of the Rotary for four years," said Chris Moling, president of DRC. "They feel like they have to get these things off the ground and move on.

"They have done this for 10 years," Moling said. "They developed them and have handed them off to me."

The events have steadily increased in numbers, with the exception of last year because of the hurricanes, Moling said. The Labor Day competition was postponed, and fewer people took part in the rescheduled race as a result.

The series receives 70 percent of its participants from outside the area. Last season, there were about 750 athletes. The cost of having a triathlon is about $5,000, Moling said. Sprint 1 has more than 130 pre-registered competitors, but Moling expects 200-plus to be taking part in the quarter-mile swim, 15-mile bike ride and 3-mile run.

The entire series will be on the same course except for the Twilight Triathlon. The bike layout for the July 30 event at 7:30 p.m. will be 10 miles. "I think that will grow into a major event," Moling said of the Twilight Triathlon. "It will draw people because it's cool and different."

The series is attractive partly because most of the races are on holidays. "Many come to Crystal River to run a race and stay," Moling said. "For the Fourth of July, that is the first weekend of scallop season. Some people will go run the race, then go scalloping."

The July 4 Sprint 2 is set for 7:30 a.m. and expects to attract 300 athletes.

"That has always been the largest event because it is the longest running," Moling said. "The Crystal River Rotary Club started this with one, then decided to make it a series. "For triathlons, word of mouth is the most powerful," he said. "They tell their friends, and it slowly builds." Moling serves as race director, and he has a love of the series. "I enjoy putting on these events," he said. "I am a triathlete as well." Those who love triathlons can go north for more this summer.

Moling has scheduled one in Jacksonville, plus there will be competition at Little Talbot Island on June 26, July 17 and Aug. 7. For Jacksonville information, go online to jaxtri.com. Crystal River Sprint 3 is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. on Sept. 4. "This series has continued to grow," Moling said. "It has only brought positives to Citrus County. It has put us on the map. "People from the cities like to get away. We are bringing in quality tourists."

For series information, go to crtri.com or call (352) 637-2475. For Sprint 1 results, look in Monday's main sports section.

[Last modified May 27, 2005, 00:39:13]


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