Haul to Great Wall moves on to Long Beach

By Triathlete magazine Interactive

June 14, 2006 — Long Beach, California is the next destination in USA Triathlon’s five-city 2006 Haul to the Great Wall Series, and the event is bringing in the big names among U.S. elites, as the June 25 race is serving as the elite and U23 national championship and an ITU Continental Cup race.

Among the athletes scheduled to compete are two U.S. men ranked in the World Cup top 10: Hunter Kemper (No. 2) and Andy Potts (No. 10). World Cup regulars Brian Fleischmann, Matt Reed, Seth Wealing, Joe Umphenour and Tim O’Donnell are also on the start list, as is a strong field of young athletes, led by Jarrod Shoemaker and Haven Barnes. Athens Olympian Victor Plata will also be in action.

For the women, the field includes world No. 2 Laura Bennett, as well as Becky Lavelle, Julie Swail, Margaret Shapiro and a list of up-and-coming athletes in Jasmine Oeinck, Sara McLarty, Jenna Shoemaker, Sarah Haskins and Jennifer Spieldenner.

International elites from Australia, Canada, Mexico, Israel, New Zealand and Great Britain will also compete.

The series of intermediate-distance triathlons – now in its second year – allows triathletes and spectators to get their first look at who might be competing at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Each race is sanctioned by USAT and the International Triathlon Union (ITU). The ITU world-rankings system is used as part of the qualification process for the Olympics.

The 2006 Haul to the Great Wall Series kicked off with the Honolulu Triathlon last month and continues with the Park City Mossman Triathlon in Bridgeport, Conn., on Aug. 5, the Boston Triathlon in Boston, Mass., on Sept. 3 and the Westchester Triathlon in Rye, N.Y., on Sept. 17.

Each elite race, which allows drafting on the bike, has a prize purse of $20,000. Moreover, the overall male and female series champions – whether from the United States or another country – will receive $10,000.

Swimwear and sports-apparel giant Speedo is also providing $5,000 in bonus money for each race on the five-city tour. American men and women who finish in the top three in their respective races are eligible for the bonuses, with $1,500 going to the top finisher, $750 to second and $250 to third.

U.S. triathletes took five of the top six spots at the series opening event in Honolulu and split $3,500 in bonuses.

In addition to the individual race bonus pool, Speedo is providing a $15,000 end-of-the-season bonus to be split if U.S. athletes finish first or second in the series. First place will receive $5,000 and second place will take home $2,500 in both the men’s and women’s categories.

Age-group triathletes interested in racing the same courses as the pros should visit the race Web sites for more details and to register. Drafting is not legal in age-group races.

2006 Haul to the Great Wall Series

Honolulu Triathlon (Honolulu, Hawaii)
May 14

The Beach Triathlon (Long Beach, Calif.)
June 25

Park City Mossman Triathlon (Bridgeport, Conn.)
August 5

Boston Triathlon (Boston, Mass.)
September 3

Westchester Triathlon (Rye, N.Y.)
Sept. 17

accenture ESCAPE From ALCATRAZ Triathlon

View of San Francisco while swimming from AlcatrazEAAcct05Logo.jpg 


Being that my wife gained entry to this outstanding race via a lottery win, I had to sign up too.  I just couldn’t turn down the chance to go to San Francisco and enjoy the weekend in an awesome city, and I would go crazy watching such a spectacle without racing in it.  So, even though I had missed 3 weeks of training in the last 2 months (sick), traveled for 3 weeks to France and Corsica only to arrive home just 13 days before Alcatraz, I signed up for the Pro field 9 days before the event.  And if that wasn’t enough to make my race preparedness less-than-perfect; I was also dealing with IT band / bursitis issues in my hip that kept me from running much at all.  That being said, I was still optimistic that I could have a good swim/ bike combo and see what was left for the run. 

I think that a lot of this (being less than well prepared) was swimming around in the back of my head and causing a lot of stress.  For the week leading up to the race I felt overly fatigued, especially when going near threshold pace and I was battling an upper respiratory infection.  It is amazing the havoc a little uncontrolled anxiety can cause on your body.  I need the focus and concentration of Buddhist monk in these situations and I am far from being able to slow my thoughts down enough to keep images, feelings, ideas and perceptions about the race from creeping into my mind when under this type of duress. 

Escape from Alcatraz Pro Start 2007Race morning came and a beautiful day dawned with clear skies and warm sunshine.  Usually, I would be more in-tune with such an awesome day, but looking back now, I was preoccupied with too many thoughts…i.e., I wasn’t in that calm, tranquil zone that proceeds a fantastic race.  All 2000 athletes loaded the ferry and we began our short voyage towards Alcatraz.  I was excited to start this race next to so many of the best triathletes in the world, with the likes of Hamish Carter, Craig Alexander, Simon Lessig, Hunter Kemper, Andy Potts, Simon Whitfield, Bevan Docherty, Matt Reed, Greg Bennett and Simon Thompson the field was packed.  The Pro field climbed over the railing of the ferry and prepared to jump into the bay 7 to 8 feet below.  Terry Davis, “Racers, your in the hands of the starter.”  A few moments later a distinct but dull horn could be heard and I dove head first into the brisk water.  I immediately noticed the surprisingly choppy water as I was forced to breath high and alter my stroke as we swam into on-coming swells.  It made it hard for me to get a quick turnover or any rhythm but I worked on it as we progressed through the bay in route to the yacht club.  I was disturbed to be coughing up some mucus several times the first few minutes of the swim as this didn’t set well for the rigors of the upcoming event. alcatraz5.jpg

Sighting was no problem as the lead boat was just in front of me for most of the swim.  I was in the lead group until about 600 to 800 meters to go when I lost contact suddenly.  My cap was slowly falling off my head, inching up my forehead as each wave crashed into me.  For the briefest of moments I lost focus on the main objective, staying in the draft of the lead group, my cap was gone, left to float away in the bay when I sighted and discovered that the feet I was following (Bevan Docherty) were all of a sudden 5 meters up on me.  I was amazed how similar the next 200 meters were to getting dropped off a hard charging peloton.  The group just seemed to surge ahead as I fell further and further back.  You don’t realize how much the draft effects your speed until you are mercilessly thrown out of it. alcatraz14.jpg

During the long T1 run I noticed that Andy Potts (the first swimmer) didn’t seem too far ahead yet.  I was biking right with Simon Thompson as we headed towards the Golden Gate Bridge.  I felt pretty darn good and I knew that if I stayed with Simon I could come out of the bike near the leaders.  We started the first climb and I matched my speed with his for the first half of the climb.  But as we continued he began pulling away and I started feeling less than energetic.  I just didn’t have it. alcatraz9.jpg

The rest of the race was a measure of frustration for me, however, I was determined to finish albeit slow for what I am capable of.  At least I’ll know the lay of the land, (sand ladder, Baker Beach, Golden Gate Park) for the next time I compete in the grand Escape from Alcatraz. 

accenture Escape from Alcatraz Results 


Matt Reed, Becky Lavelle capture first Escape From Alcatraz titles

This report filed – June 5, 2006
Timothy Carlson


SAN FRANCISCO, California –

On a day in which Olympic champions and medalists, and World champions and number ones vainly chased them, Americans Matt Reed and Becky Lavelle used dominating bikes to join the honor roll of winners of the unique and prestigious Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon.


Boulder Colorado’s Matt Reed, who at 6-feet 4-inches shares the title of tallest man in the sport with Ironman specialist Ain-Alar Juhanson, rode to a 1:45 lead off the bike, then withstood the charge of the fastest runners in triathlon to take 32-second margin of victory over fellow American and ITU star Andy Potts.   “It was tough to catch him, but once I took the lead from Andy I really put the hammer down and took some risks on the downhills and opened up a big gap,” said Reed, a New Zealand who started racing for the red white and blue in 2004, after his marriage to Kelly Rees, a U.S. citizen.. “This means a lot,” added Reed, who said that beating the likes of Olympic champions Simon Whitfield and Hamish Carter, five-time ITU World  titlist and three-time Escape From Alcatraz champ Simon Lessing and ITU stars like Hunter Kemper, Potts and Bevan Docherty “shows I can beat the big boys in the sport.”

Reprising her recent dominating win at St. Anthony’s, Becky Lavelle used a smashing 51:56 bike split – two minutes 42 seconds faster than her closest pursuer –   over the hilly and technically precarious San Francisco course, to carve out a 66-second margin over runner-up Laura Bennett. Lavelle, a   resident of nearby Los Gatos, credited home town fans with inspiring her to win this crown jewel of the non-drafting universe in her fifth try. “I had tons of people cheering for me , calling my name,” said the 32-year-old star who recovered from career-threatening leg and back injuries early last year. “That goes a long way and really kept me going.”

Beckybikes.jpgLavelle and Reed both shadowed faster swimmers in calm but 55-degree cold waters of San Francisco Bay, blazed to the lead with bold rides that circumnavigated landmarks like the Fort Point at the Golden Gate Bridge, the Presidio, The Legion of Honor Palace, the Cliff House and Golden Gate Park, then defended their margins on the ultimate strength run that takes competitors out to Baker Beach and back over the infamous sand ladder climb.

In Lavelle’s wake were three-time ITU World Championship medalist and current ITU World Number one Bennett in second, 2000 Olympian Joanna Zeiger in fifth and red-hot half Iron star and Canadian Olympian Samantha McGlone in sixth.   In the breakthrough performance of the day, new U.S. under 23 star Sara McLarty, a top NCAA swimmer from Florida, finally mastered her run to take third place on the podium. “I’m over the moon,” said McLarty, who ran an honorable seventh best 53:52 over the tough 8-mile course – just 28 seconds slower than Lavelle, and 2:22 slower than McGlone’s day’s best. “Thanks to my coach Cliff English and the rest of the staff at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, it was a different story today on the run.”

Perhaps the most disappointed star in Reed’s wake was last year’s Life Time Fitness winner and current St. Croix 70.3 champion Craig Alexander, who was disqualified in a heat of the moment dispute with a race marshal over a drafting (or position) foul on the bike. While some observers said that Alexander had been following in race leader Reed’s drafting zone for over a minute before the call, but some competitors disputed the ruling, and Alexander took offense.   “I was in front of a group of chasers with Simon (Whitfield) and Bevan (Docherty) when this guy just turns up and duns me for drafting,” recalled Alexander. “He tried to stop me to stand down   and I said “No” and kept going. In a race like this, your day is done if you get a drafting call.”   Alexander crossed the finish line in fourth place, temporarily satisfied to discover where he stood on the day.

“I’d be disappointed if he weren’t penalized,” said defending champion Hunter Kemper, who finished fourth.   “It confused matters to see him still racing, although I knew he was DQ’d and wasn’t officially in the race.”

Two-time Escape From Alcatraz and four-time World champion and Tri-California announcer Greg Welch had a talk with his fellow Aussie after the race. “Craig told me if you get a penalty, your race is over,” said Welch, who retired in 2000 with a heart condition. “I said, The race isn’t over. What if the people in front of you have a flat? The second thing is those marshals are highly trained. You must have been doing something wrong. When they ask you to stand down, you do it, even if you disagree. I said Craig, I’m talking to you as a friend. You need to admit you were wrong and apologize.”

The men
Potts, coming off a World Cup podium finish this spring, emerged from the swim in 28:45, just ahead of four-time World Champion Simon Lessing (28:52), and well off the course record thanks to moderately tough currents. In the chase were Graham O’Grady (29:05), Simon Whitfield (29:06) Kemper, emerging U.S. star Matt Seymour and Kiwi Bryan Rhodes (29:11), Matt Reed (29:13) and Hamish Carter and Craig Alexander.

AndyPottsrun.jpgWhitfield, the irrepressible Canadian and Olympic champion, whose slender whippet-like shoulders have never been renowned for swimming prowess, was elated to find himself out front for part of the swim. “I led the first third – I was Swimmer Boy! – and I was giggling like a school girl,” laughed the fun-loving Victoria, British Columbia athlete. “From now on, I want everyone to address me as ?Mr. Swimmer Boy!”

While Lessing, who has lost considerable training due to lingering back woes, hung on with the chase pack on the bike that included Whitfield, Kemper, Alexander, Docherty, Carter and the surprisingly strong David Thompson, Reed made a bold move from the start. “I hit second place by the first hill,” said Reed, who was previously known for his strong swim, fearsome bike and unpredictable, hot-and-cold run. “Andy looked like he was 30 seconds up the road and it was really hard to catch him.”

Once Reed caught Potts, he spent some energy trying to shake the 2004 Olympian. “I really put the hammer down through the technical sections and I took a few risks on the downhills and opened a big gap.”

Reed, who was out biked by Kemper and ultimate winner Rasmus Henning at St. Anthony’s five weeks prior, had been training hard and was nearing breakthrough peak form. “I gained a lot of confidence at St. Anthony’s because I rode really well without much training. Since then, I did a lot of work on my time trialing and on the hills in Boulder and it paid off today.”

HunterKemper.jpgIn the scrum behind Reed, Hamish Carter fell off the pack when he got a drafting call and – as the sportsman he is – the Olympic champion accepted the stand down penalty.

At T2, Reed finished his wild ride in 45:35, with 1:45 in hand, with Potts, Whitfield, Kemper, Lessing Docherty and the ill-fated Alexander all finishing their rides in the mid-47 minute range.

Going into the final leg, Reed had to stare down an insecurity on his run that had haunted his career. “I was definitely scared the first half mile or so of the run” said Reed. “I heard the announcer say there were five guys and I looked over and saw Hunter (Kemper) and (Simon) Whitfield. These guys are the best runners in the sport. I just said to myself ?Just get to halfway and see what I had left.”

By the sand ladder at Mile 4.5, Reed looked strong and had plenty left and the drama was all behind him. Coming up the sand ladder, Potts looked weary and ready to surrender second place with Kemper and Whitfield charging on his heels. But looks can be deceiving. “The ladder can make or break you,” said Potts. “If you hit it too hard, you can’t crest the rest of the hill and hit the following descent hard. There’s a lot of running after that ladder.”

For Kemper, the ladder was his last hurrah. “At the top of the sand ladder I was right there, five seconds behind Andy Potts,” said Kemper. “But that was it. I struggled coming down and by the time I got to the flats, I was 20 seconds down and Simon was coming. It is frustrating, because my training isn’t   going well and my run really wasn’t there.”

For Whitfield, who admits that   he cannot sustain top form for an entire season and must peak for the big events,   the sand ladder was fun. “My chance to win was gone after the bike,” said Whitfield. “Matt swam well, biked hard and ran like a man and deserved the win. For me, I was killing those stairs! I had Crowie (Alexander) at my back and was chasing Hunter so I wanted to get that fastest stairs split.”

At the finish, Reed’s 44:30 run split was enough to hold off Potts by 32 seconds. Whitfield’s day’s fastest run of 43:02 outpaced Kemper for third by 15 seconds. Showing just how strong he has become, Kemper’s deeply disappointing 43:23 run was second fastest on the day. “Matt is my best friend on the circuit and if I can’t win I couldn’t be happier for him,” said Kemper.

Following Kemper were 2004 ITU World champion and Olympic silver medalist Bevan Docherty in fifth and 2004 Olympic champion Hamish Carter in sixth.

Beaming for his career best effort, young pro David Thompson was thrilled with his 7th place finish, 29 seconds ahead of his hero, Simon Lessing, who had struggled against injury reduced fitness. “When I’m discouraged or retired and thinking back on it all, I’ll always remember I passed Simon Lessing. That’s one I can save for a rainy day.”



The women
Sara McLarty, who beat Andy Potts and all the men in the swim at an ITU World Cup in Japan earlier this year,   did not best the men in the mostly sunny Escape From Alcatraz swim. But McLarty’s 29:12 was better than all but seven men, 66 seconds   better than next best woman, Joanna Zeiger, and 72 seconds faster than former NCAA star Becky Lavelle.

While McLarty could be expected to hold to a leading spot through the bike, the question remained – could the young swim star develop a run?

For Lavelle, the question after her second straight dominating win at St. Anthony’s was; Could she maintain that form to contend at her prestigious home town race? “I had a little foot tendinitis after St. Anthony’s, so I couldn’t do Wildflower and I couldn’t run for a couple of weeks,” said Lavelle. “But my physiotherapist and I kept on top of it.”

Bursting with good energy, Lavelle passed McLarty at Mile 8 after a climb. “She got me back on the downhill after the Cliff House restaurant – she’s fearless,” said Lavelle of her young rival. “I took her back on the flats and kept the power on.” Lavelle had a lead of about 2:30 at T2 after her race best 51:56 ride, 2:44 better than Zeiger and 3:10 better than McLarty. McGlone, whose world class form was apparently tapped out after stunning, dominating wins at Wildflower and Florida Ironman 70.3, faded from contention with a dispirited 57:10 ride, while McLarty hung tough with a 55:06 mark.

Zeiger, still recovering from a bacterial stomach infection that hit her at St Croix and forced her to withdraw from a defense of her Ironman Brazil crown, stayed in the hunt with her 54:38 ride. But then the bottom fell out on the tough run, which will not forgive those who are not in top form and Zeiger fell to 5th place with a 55:37 run.

Bennett, who traded the lead` of the pack chasing McLarty on the swim, saw Lavelle ride into the distance, then caught a bad break when her chain became derailed and lost a spot to Zeiger. Bennett, who had been focusing on building a huge aerobic base rather than her old reliance on speed work, cut through the field on the run, passing Zeiger at Mile 1, then caught the stubbornly hard-charging McLarty at the sand ladder and cruised to second place finish 66 seconds back. “I like my fitness at this point,” said Bennett. “But Sara is doing fantastic. She has this big aerobic base and she’s working hard on her bike and run. Coming from a swimming background, she’s going to keep training and she’ll train weight off and adapt. It took me a few years, but I did it.”

Recently retired American triathlon legend Barb Lindquist, who has been acting as McLarty’s   mentor in her work as a USAT Under 23 national coach, was equally enthusiastic. “Sara is over the moon and I am really excited for her,” said Lindquist. “She’s learning how to run. And as a mentor who faced some of the same challenges, we can really relate. I’m sharing my experiences and the thins I had to learn. I really believe it will happen for her. She works hard and she’s patient, too.”

At the finish, Lavelle ran a 6th best 53:24 – 1:54 slower than McGlone’s too little, too late race-best 51:30 run – plenty fast enough to secure the win and was thrilled. “It’s awesome,” said Lavelle. “I’ve always wanted to win this race.”

Lavelle gave her biggest thanks for her brother Brian Gibbs, her coach, who stood along the sand ladder this day shouting to his sister to remember to “Use your arms! Use your arms!”

Lavelle, too, was impressed with McLarty’s race. “Today she proved she is an all around triathlete. For sure. This is a strength course and she’s obviously very strong and she’s definitely coming on. ”   .

Meanwhile, Minnesota native Lavelle, embracing her good health and great form, looks forward to a rendezvous with the likes of Emma Snowsill and the rest of a hungry crowd of contenders at the $500,000 purse at Life Time Fitness in Minneapolis in July.

Results: Accenture Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon. San Francisco California. June 4, 2006. S 1.5mi./ B 18 mi./ R 8 mi.


Elite men:
1. Matt Reed (Boulder. CO) 2:03:36;
2. Andy Potts (Colorado Springs CO) 2:04:08;
3. Simon Whitfield (Can) 2:04:32;
4. Hunter Kemper (Colorado Springs CO) 2:04:47;
5. Bevan Docherty (Nzl) 2:05:09;
6. Hamish Carter (Nzl) 2:06:14;
7. David Thompson (USA) 2:07:31;
8. Simon Lessing (Gbr) 2:08:00;
9. Simon Thompson (Aus) 2:08:23;
10. Graham O’Grady (NA) 2:09:19.

Elite women:
1. Becky Lavelle (Los Gatos CA) 2:21:05;
2. Laura Bennett (North   Palm Beach FL) 2:22:11;
3. Sara McLarty (DeLand FL) 2:23:30;
4. Carolyn Murray (Can) 2:24:42;
5. Joanna Zeiger (Boulder CO) 2:26:10;
6. Samantha McGlone (Can) 2:28:01;
7. Pip Taylor (Aus) 2:29:20;
8. Alexis Waddell (Seaside CA) 2:29:47;
9. Kelly Couch (NA) 2:31:07;
10. Mary Beth Ellis (Calif) 2:31:21..

Athletes set to escape on Sunday

Athletes set to escape on Sunday
By Brad Culp

June 2, 2006 –Forty-four years ago, inmate Frank Morris and two friends became the only men to ever escape from Alcatraz Prison in the San Francisco Bay. On Sunday, June 4, 1,800 triathletes from 29 different countries will attempt to do the same at the 26th annual Accenture Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon.

The race is regarded as one of the most prestigious and challenging races in the sport. It is this prestige, combined with a pro-prize purse worth $44,000, that consistently brings together one of the most impressive fields of the year.

The race’s unique distances (1.5-mile swim, 18-mile bike, 8-mile run) make it a challenge for both short-course and Ironman specialists. This year’s field showcases some of the world’s best at every distance. 2005 men’s champion Hunter Kemper of the United States will return to defend his title. Kemper will be challenged by Olympic gold medalist Hamish Carter of New Zealand and course record holder Simon Lessing of Great Britain.

The women’s race looks to be equally as competitive. The field includes Canadian Olympian Samantha McGlone, who is coming off wins at Wildflower and the Florida Ironman 70.3 only a few weeks ago. McGlone will be up against former American Olympian Joanna Zeiger, as well as Australian Ironman standout Kate Major.

The race will begin with athletes jumping off of a boat near Alcatraz Island and swimming 1.5 miles to Marina Green in San Francisco Bay. The swim is perhaps the most difficult portion of the race, as the water temperature is normally below 55 degrees and the ocean conditions can be rough. After changing into dry clothes, the athletes will then run over half a mile to T1. The 18-mile bike course will send participants up and down some of the most challenging hills the city has to offer. The eight-mile run portion combines hills, sand and pavement sections..

Triathlon Fuelled by New Partnership

Triathlon Fuelled by New Partnership  (June 2, 2006 )

BG Group, the global natural gas business and the International Triathlon Union (ITU) today announced a new long-term global partnership to help increase world-wide reach, participation and resources for the Olympic sport through to 2014.

The new partnership, which will last at least until 2014, is unprecedented in the history of triathlon with BG Group placing significant resources and investment to support the sport’s global development at both grass roots and elite levels.

The project links one of the leading players in the global energy business with one of the world’s fastest growing, diverse and environmentally friendly sports. It provides additional funding of at least $2m per year for the next nine years and the ITU’s flagship event series is now renamed BG Triathlon World Cup.

Les McDonald, President of the ITU said:

“Today represents an exciting landmark for triathlon as we welcome BG Group to the ITU family. BG is a company with whom we have a genuine partnership with shared aspirations and their support will help us expand the global appeal of triathlon and achieve our long-term objectives of more athletes representing more flags at future Olympic Games.”

Charles Bland, Executive Vice President, BG Group said:

“BG Group’s commitment is deliberately long term as we intend to help the sport achieve its global objectives at the elite level but also in growing participation at grass root.

“Triathlon appeals to people of all ages and fitness and provides wider social benefits through sport participation as well as leaving a positive environmental footprint. We have been impressed by the success of ITU to date, in the speed with which they have established triathlon as an Olympic Sport and the culture of commitment, equality and inclusion they have fostered among the athletes and national federations.”

In 2006, BG Group funding will boost ITU numbers with three new roles including the appointment of former US triathlon team coach Libby Burrell to head the sport development programme aimed at increasing participation levels across the globe.

The partnership programme will include:

• Increase in athlete prize money for World Cup and World Championship events
• Development of new national federation affiliates
• Creation of World Training Camps for athletes
• Increase in number and qualifications of coaches and technical officials
• Support to host triathlon events at all levels
• Support for the development of up and coming athletes
• Appointment of additional ITU staff to support the sport development programme
• Global campaign to raise the profile of the sport
Richard Stannard, a British triathlete and athlete representative on the ITU Executive Board, said:

“Having a successful career in triathlon requires support from a whole team of people and organisations. This support is more readily available in some countries than others. To know that in future, athletes from developing nations could have the same access to top level coaches and events as richer nations can only enrich the sport and guarantee a whole new generation of triathletes.”

Ainhoa Murua from Spain, said:

“BG Group’s involvement will make a huge difference to our sport. This is additional financial support that we have never had before and will be essential for the future development of athletes and the profile of our sport.”

 BG Group  


Cash and Prizes for Groundbreaking Series Could Exceed $1,000,000

Eden Prairie, Minnesota (June 1, 2006) – Life Time Fitness, Inc., a national operator of distinctive and large health and fitness centers, has announced the launch of the Life Time Fitness Triathlon Series in partnership with premier races in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and their own Life Time Fitness Triathlon, which is held in Minneapolis and broadcast nationally on NBC.

In groundbreaking fashion, the Life Time Fitness Triathlon Series will be the first-ever series to connect four prominent Olympic distance triathlon events in the United States and will offer cash and prizes that could exceed $1,000,000, including $400,000 in bonuses to the male and female athlete who wins each race in the Series. To be held annually, the Series will commence in New York this summer and end in Minneapolis in 2007.

“This series is a great opportunity to showcase the best athletes in the world,” said USA Triathlon Executive Director Skip Gilbert. “Looking ahead to 2007, we now have an ITU World Cup race with a prize purse over $700,000 in Des Moines, Iowa, an elite non-drafting race series with over $1,000,000 in prizes, and our own Haul to the Great Wall ITU-style race series with a great prize purse and $40,000 in bonuses from Speedo. These races will bring in great talent and help prepare our own U.S. athletes for Beijing in 2008. Helping the sport at the professional level is only going to drive interest in multi-sport events and will benefit all of our age group athletes across all disciplines.”

For more details on the Series, visit the Life Time Fitness website..