SEBRING This weekend's eighth annual Heartland Triathlon is expected to bring thousands of people downtown for the two-day event, which officially kicks-off at 7:30 a.m. today at City Pier Beach, at 315 W. Center St, with the Heartland Kids Triathlon. The kids event is for those ages 6 to 15.
Junior kids (ages 6 to 10) swim 100 yards, bike 3 miles and run a half-mile; the older kids swim 200 yards, bike 6 miles and run a mile.
The kids triathlon will once again serve as the USA Triathlon Florida Regional Youth Championship, ensuring a talented field of youngsters for the event. An awards ceremony for the kids will take place after completion of the event.
The adults take to the course beginning at 7 a.m. Sunday and will take off in waves, depending on classification and age. The Sprint Distance Race and Talent ID Series events for adults include a .25-mile swim, a 14-mile bike trek and a run of 3.1 miles. The Olympic Distance Race for adults consists of a .93 mile swim, a 24.8 mile bike trek and a 6.2-mile run.
Last year, there were nearly 650 who finished the two triathlons and this year is expected to be another record-breaking day, as more than 700 people were signed-up as of Thursday.
Local competitors had a solid showing last year, as Sebring's Blair Walz captured the female 20 to 24 title in 1:29.10, finishing more than five minutes in front of the closest competitor.
Sebring's Jayson Bass placed first in the 35 to 39 age group, finishing in front of 28 others with a time of 1:06:12.
Sebring's Harold Smith won the 75 to 79 age group with a time of 1:49:02 and fellow Sebring resident Jack Bailey won the male first-timers division with a time of 1:16:35.
Brian Miller, David Scheck and Renee Marin Gomez combined to win the male team event in 1:05:13, with the Lake Placid group of Solesnir Pinillos, Sarah Smith and Shannon Viox taking the female team title in 1:38:37.
The Sebring team of Kyle Gordon, Debra Moyer and Joan Siracuse won the mixed team division with a time of 1:33:35.