Triathlon doubles its field, increases prizes
By TIMES WIRES
Published July 4, 2007
This year's Morton Plant Mease Triathlon has doubled the size of the field and raised the stakes to bring in more elite competitors.
Last year, 464 athletes crossed the finish line, raising $21, 000 for the Morton Plant Mease Foundation. All 850 available slots have been filled for the July 15 competition at Sand Key Park. A $4, 000 prize purse - $1, 000 more than last year - will be awarded to the top five elite male and female finishers.
Offering more prize money has helped, but so has Clearwater's reputation as an emerging triathlon mecca since hosting the Ford Ironman 70.3 World Championship in November for the first time.
The race, set to start at 7 a.m., includes a one-third-mile swim in the gulf. The 13-mile bike ride rolls over the Sand Key, Memorial Causeway and Belleair Causeway bridges. The race concludes with a 3.1-mile run that starts and finishes at Sand Key Park.
Bay Pines building evacuated for fire
A kitchen fire in an employee cafeteria Tuesday morning forced authorities to evacuate a building at Bay Pines VA Hospital.
The building houses a cafeteria and outpatient services, so no surgeries were disrupted. The fire caused minimal damage. By 10:20 a.m., about an hour after authorities were called, the smoke had cleared and a small crowd of displaced people was allowed back inside.