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News Story
Updated: 03/19/2014 08:00:02AM

Good turnout for Fifth Annual Bartow Blarney Triathlon

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PHOTO BY STEVE STEINER


Two swimmers cross as they swim laps as other triathletes wait their turn to get into the pool.

PHOTO BY STEVE STEINER


After having completed swimming, this triathlete races to begin the second lap of the Blarney Triathlon, bicycling.

PHOTO BY STEVE STEINER


Several trophies plus gold, silver and bronze medals await the winners of the Fifth Annual Blarney Triathlon.

PHOTO PROVIDED


After a brisk quarter mile swim followed by bicycling 12 miles, one of the first to cross the finish line following a 3.1 mile run has the finish line all to himself.

PHOTO BY STEVE STEINER


Natalie Chase, 13, who attends Union Academy, won the audition to sing "The Star Spangled Banner."

PHOTO BY STEVE STEINER


Layne Wiltrout (left) applies a number to the leg of Jeff Olofson prior to the start of the Fifth Annual Blarney Triathlon. The event began on the grounds of the Bartow Civic Center on Saturday, March 15.

PHOTO BY STEVE STEINER


Triathletes take to the Sam Griver Pool Saturday in Fifth Annual Blarney Triathlon begin the first part of the competition, swimming. For more on the competition, see Page 18.

By STEVE STEINER

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The morning temperature was brisk this past Saturday, March 15, as more than 50 people of various ages took part in the Fifth Annual Bartow Blarney Triathlon held at the Bartow Civic Center.

All within the civic center competitors were readying themselves, doing exercises to loosen up, making sure their outfits and equipment were in top, working order, eating a power breakfast, and catching up with friends and acquaintances from previous races.

It was a busy time for volunteers as well, such as Elaine Sanders, who is with the Bartow Parks and Recreation department. But it was an event she enjoyed.

“I’ve worked every one, since the beginning,” said Sanders. “It’s exciting and amazing, too, the shape these people are in.”

Jeff Olofson appeared to fit that description. This was his sixth triathlon, he said as he was having his entry number written on his leg.

“I was a marathon runner for awhile,” Olofson said as he explained how he got into triathlon competitions. For him it was because of injuries. “You run so much you get hurt, so you start biking and swimming to stay in shape.”

Every so often Wayne Jackson would make an announcement, interspersed between motivational music such as the theme to “Rocky.” Jackson, with Custom Karaoke and DJ Service, out of Plant City, served as the announcer, filling in people on registration for deadlines, putting in plugs for the sponsors, and, finally, announcing the start of the first segment: swimming.

Following a rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner by 13-year-old Natalie Chase, the race was on, and that was no blarney.

Top winners:

Overall Male Champion

Jesse Cookson, 35, Lakeland; time: 56.22

Male Masters Champion

Rod Crowley, 52, Lakeland; time: 1.05.44

Overall Female Champion

Regan Davenport, 42, Bowling Green; time: 1.10.45

Female Masters Champion

Ann Vestle, 59, Cedar Rapids, Mich.; time: 1:26;15


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