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Area triathletes share in awards at St. Anthony's


© St. Petersburg Times, published May 3, 2000

Straub Park in downtown St. Petersburg became a popular destination for triathletes from all over the world last week, and bay area hosts are still busy shuttling foreigners with bike travel cases to Tampa International Airport.

Sunday's St. Anthony's Triathlon had all the ingredients of a successful first major event on the U.S. racing calendar. That included Clermont's Fred Sommer timing with CFT's ChampionChip system, finish line announcer Jerry McNeil (the best in the business for stirring up the crowd), 1,000 enthusiastic volunteers, spectators lining the course, the nation's best Clydesdales competing for World Games slots, and a full field of nearly 1,600 amateurs ready to rock on race day.

Hometown hero Laura Drake won Sunday's overall amateur title in 2 hours, 8 minutes, 25 seconds despite suffering from a bad cold.

"I've been training up in north Georgia and it's been 40 degrees, rainy and no sun," Drake said. "I have been getting some pretty good workouts in. And, I was looking forward to coming home for this. Next, I'm racing at Gulf Coast in Panama City Beach, then on to Brazil, and I'll be ready, but my season's big focus is always on Hawaii."

Drake, 31, stood on the podium at Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, last fall after becoming an Ironman age-group winner (30-34) .

Bay area triathletes who joined Drake in taking home St. Anthony's awards (framed watercolor and pen creations by St. Pete Beach artist Bill Castleman) included female masters winner Linda Musante (2:20:49) of Tampa, 15-19 winner Charlotte Paganini (2:38:30) of Clearwater, 30-34 winner Kasey Carroll-Basso (2:09:00) of Lutz, 65-69 winner Shirley Taylor (3:19:59) of Largo, 70-74 winner Jackie Yost (3:41:57) of Treasure Island, and 75-79 winner Charles Lasley (3:57:42) of Belleair.

Boston Bill sunglass company owner Bill Hansbury of St. Pete Beach presented Katie Knight-Perry of St. Petersburg with a check for the Ralph G. Perry Scholarship Fund in honor of her late husband, a well-known Ironman triathlete and coach who died last December after a battle with prostate cancer.

For complete St. Anthony's Triathlon results, including all finishing times, splits and USAT official drafting and blocking penalties, check out:

IRONMAN'S EMMY AWARDS: Tracy Kaanaaina of Kailua-Kona sent recent e-mail announcements celebrating the three Sports Emmy Awards won last week for the 1999 Ironman Triathlon broadcast. Kaanaaina works with the media for World Triathlon Corporation. Nine such awards now have been received over a seven-year period of Ironman Triathlon World Championship coverage.

IRONMAN CALIFORNIA: According to The Finish Line, the St. Pete Mad Dogs newsletter, Naples triathlete Joe Bonness set his sixth masters course record in 9:17 at Ironman New Zealand on March 4.

Placing third at the St. Anthony's Triathlon, Bonness, who turns 45 this fall, now heads to the Ironman California Triathlon May 20 at Camp Pendleton. Check out KEEP WETSUITS UNPACKED: Some traveling triathletes are staying with local families until the May 13 Gulf Coast Triathlon in Panama City Beach (swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 miles, run 13.1 miles).

Race organizers have announced the field is full for this half-Ironman distance event, which has been designated the 2000 USAT Southeast Long Course Regional Championship. For Gulf Coast information, visit MORE MAY EVENTS: For local flavor and fun, try the 12th annual Indian Rocks Beach Biathlon and 3-mile beach run May 12 at 6:30 p.m.

Race distances will be 2-mile run, .5-mile swim and 2-mile run. A low tide in the gulf is predicted. All age groups, including first-timers, are welcome. For further information, call Bert Valery at (727) 517-8888.

The Mad Beach Mad Dog Triathlon (swim .5 mile, bike 15 miles, run 3.1 miles) will be on Sunday, May 21, near the Holiday Inn on Gulf Boulevard.

Race promoter York Somerville also has organized a youth race for ages 7 to 15 on May 20. For further information, including volunteering, call Somerville at (727) 527-8869.

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