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Beware the Mad Dogs; triathlon to cause Gulf Boulevard jam


© St. Petersburg Times, published May 16, 2001

MADEIRA BEACH -- Sitting in traffic on Gulf Boulevard?

This weekend, it might be faster to swim, walk or run through Madeira Beach.

As many as two lanes of Gulf Boulevard will be closed Saturday and Sunday to make way for the 16th annual Mad Beach Mad Dogs Triathlon.

Saturday morning, the two southbound lanes of Gulf Boulevard will be closed for the children's and beginning adults' races.

Traffic will be diverted into the northbound lanes, with the eastern lane used for northbound traffic and the western lane for southbound vehicles.

The two southbound lanes will be closed for about a half-mile north of Archibald Park. Motorists can expect the closure to last from about 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday.

"We appreciate everybody's patience," said York Somerville, race director.

On Sunday, the day of the main event in which racers will swim a half-mile, bike 15 miles and run 3.1 miles, one lane of Gulf Boulevard will be closed for about a mile and a half north of John's Pass Village.

The road closure should affect drivers from about 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Sunday.

Race officials expect about 1,000 people to participate in the event, organized by the St. Petersburg Mad Dogs, the world's largest triathlon group with 1,600 members worldwide.

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