Couple go the distance
By JON WILSON
Published April 25, 2007
They are as much a part of St. Anthony's Triathlon as water stations and post-race parties.
Jackie and Larry Yost will swim nearly a mile, bike 24.8 miles and run 6.2 miles Sunday, challenging for the 14th consecutive year one of the nation's top Olympic-distance courses.
They will be among a record 4,000 individual athletes and 100 relay teams competing in the 24th St. Anthony's Triathlon, which has become a signature sports event for St. Petersburg.
Sunday morning motorists should be aware that access will be limited on some streets for several hours after the event's 7 a.m. start.
Married for more than 54 years, the Yosts are widely recognized around the bay area and beyond, not just for triathlon appearances but for their history of running in road races.
They estimate they have competed in more than 100 races, just since 1994. Each averages about 1,000 running miles per year.
"Larry and I feel so strongly that we stay healthy because we do healthy things," said Jackie Yost, 79.
"That is one of our main goals, to be healthy. And of course, the enjoyment and the camaraderie. You encourage others to get active and be as active as they possibly can," she said.
The two were runners long before they entered their first triathlon in 1993, which was the Meek and Mighty, a companion St. Anthony's race for youngsters and novice adults. (The Yosts won their age group that day, as did their adult daughter, Joy Edwards.)
Jackie, a former coach, teacher and high school basketball player, ran her first road race in 1976, a 5K at Clemson University.
"All I know was, I got (age-group) first place. It was the most wonderful thing. So I was off to a running start," she said.
Larry Yost, 77, who worked in the furniture industry, had been running for years before his bride got the bug. The couple moved to St. Petersburg in 1980. They continued to run and took up an array of other outdoor sports.
"You name it, we did it all," Jackie Yost said.
Friends Rue and Cathy Morgan, along with Katie Perry and her late husband, Ralph, persuaded the Yosts to attempt triathlons.
"What's wonderful is that we have each other," Jackie Yost said. "We've never pursued the idea, but I don't believe I know of any other couple that still does the triathlons together any more."
If you go
St. Anthony's Triathlon
What: More than 4,000 individual athletes and 100 relay teams competing. It is an Olympic-distance event with a 1.5-kilometer (0.93-mile) swim leg, a 40K (24.8-mile) bike and a 10K (6.2-mile) run. A companion event is the Meek and Mighty Triathlon for youngsters and novice adults competing over shorter distances.
Where: St. Anthony's Triathlon takes place on the downtown waterfront (swim), downtown and southeast St. Petersburg (bike) and North Shore Drive, Coffee Pot Boulevard and Brightwaters Boulevard (run). The Meek and Mighty takes place in North Shore and Vinoy parks, and on North Shore Drive, a short stretch of Coffee Pot Boulevard and the northern three blocks of Beach Drive.
When: St. Anthony's Triathlon starts at 7 a.m. Sunday at Spa Beach, with athlete body-marking and the transition area opening at 5 a.m. The Meek and Mighty starts at 8 a.m. Saturday, with athlete check-in at 7 a.m. at North Shore Pool.
Registration: Closed for all events.
[Last modified April 24, 2007, 23:29:34]
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