2,200 Triathletes Compete Along Unique South Florida Course
MIAMI (September 25, 2016) - Kyle Hooker regularly flies his Navy jet on 10-hour maritime intelligence reconnaissance missions, so he's used to long, intense assignments.
But the heat, humidity and bridge crossings of Sunday's Mack Cycle Escape To Miami Triathlon proved to be a formidable challenge for the 27-year-old Navy airman based in Jacksonville.
Hooker won the 12th annual triathlon's International division (1:58:40) after chasing down two-time defending champion Yunior Rosete Torres (1:59:33) in the run portion of the swim-bike-run event. Josh Eaton of Orlando was third (2:02:24).
Imke Oelerich of Mildstedt, Germany, won the women's International race in 2:16:15, nearly three minutes ahead of defending champion Carla Moreno (2:19:01) of Hollywood. Venezuelan Daniela Montiel was third (2:19:55).
The International race kicked off shortly after sunrise, beginning with a unique .9 mile-long swim across open waters from "Escape Island" to Margaret Pace Park followed by a challenging 24.8-mile bike course over the Julia Tuttle Causeway to Miami Beach and a 6.2-mile loop over the MacArthur Causeway to Star Island and back.
With temperatures reaching into the 80s as the race progressed, and the humidity as high as 93 percent, Hooker was surprised that he had enough left at the finish.
"I'm not really good at running in this kind of heat," Hooker said. "But I just kept trucking and trying to keep it together. Coming off the last bridge there I thought I was going to fall apart. I started to see him (Rosete Torres) and tried to kick it into gear and caught him. I spent the entire race trying to catch him."
Although Rosete Torres led for most of the race, he was not disappointed to lose it at the end.
"I was very tired," said the 32-year-old Rosete Torres. "I was spent and he was really fast in the end. I'm happy. This year (my wife and I) had a baby and it's a change in my life."
Oelerich, 27, was four minutes behind Moreno after concluding her swim, but the Nova University MBA student quickly closed the gap once she mounted her bike.
"The biking is my strongest discipline," said Oelerich, who turned pro this year and is using the race to prepare for the conditions that she will likely also face in next month's Ironman 70.3 Miami. "So I picked it up there. I got her two miles before the transition to the run. It was tough work to get her. In Europe we are not really used to this humidity."
Many of the 2,200 triathletes elected to take part in the shorter Sprint division which included a quarter-mile shoreline swim followed by a 13-mile bike course and a 3.1-mile run.
A pair of Miamians led the way, with United Health Care nurse Vladimir Casanova the overall winner (1:04:20), and state attorney prosecutor Marianne Curtis the first woman to cross the finish line (1:15:42).
Casanova, 40, is a four-year triathlon veteran and won the Mack Cycle Escape To Miami Triathlon race when he last entered in 2014.
"I'm happy," he said. "This is a hard race compared to the other races here in Miami."
Curtis, 30, a former University of Miami women's basketball player who has been racing in the event for several years, bettered her fifth-place finish from a year ago.
"It was awesome, absolutely awesome," she said. "That's why I keep coming back."
The Mack Cycle Escape to Miami Triathlon is the final event of the 2016 Life Time Tri Series,which includes 10 triathlons across the country. The series also includes the South Beach Triathlon held on the southern tip of Miami Beach each April.
About Mack Cycle and Fitness
Mack Cycle's Miami store, located at 5995 Sunset Drive, is known around the world as a place for cyclists to find the ultimate selection of quality products and values. Mack Cycle has been named a Five-Star Top 100 Bike Store in the country by the cycling industry as well as one of the Top 50 Triathlon stores in the country as rated by Slow Twitch.
About Life TimeSM, The Healthy Way of Life Company
Life Time is a privately held, comprehensive health and lifestyle company that offers a personalized and scientific approach to long-term health and wellness. Through its portfolio of distinctive resort-like destinations and athletic events, the Healthy Way of Life Company helps members achieve their goals everyday with the support of a team of dedicated professionals and an array of proprietary health assessments. As of September 2016, the company operates 121 centers in 26 states and 35 major markets under the LIFE TIME FITNESS® and LIFE TIME ATHLETIC® brands in the United States and Canada. Additional information is available at LifetimeFitness.com.