Health

Thursday 18 September 2014

Buzz: Ever wanted to compete in the Dunedin Beach Sprint Triathlon

A swimmer takes part in a triathlon. Photo: Thinkstock

No, not Dunedin in New Zealand, this one is located in Pinellas County, Florida.

The bustling city of 37,000 people is home to an array of stunning beaches, with the Dunedin Beach Sprint Triathlon being held on Honeymoon Island, which is regarded as one of the most picturesque beaches in the whole of the US.

Honeymoon Island, or Hog Island as it was originally known, and Caladesi Island were born in 1921 when a large barrier island split in half during a powerful hurricane.

It came to prominence in the 1940s when huts were built on it targeting newlyweds seeking a romantic getaway, hence the name change.

Alas, World War II put an end to the honeymoon project, and the huts were knocked down with the island being turned into a state park.

The Dunedin Beach Sprint Triathlon event itself is hosted by Dunedin Rotary Club and has been in existence since 2004. The event has gone from strength to strength as it attracts some of the sport's top professionals, while it is also appealing to amateur and first-time triathlon participants alike.

This is due to sprint-triathlons being held over shorter distances, which makes them the perfect platform to kickstart a triathlon career.

The triathlon attracts an average of 700 participants each year.

The race involves a quarter-mile swim, 12-mile bike ride, and a 5k run to finish.

The quarter-mile swim takes place at Middle Honeymoon Island beach, with the average time for its completion taking 15-20 minutes. The swim takes place on a loop course starting and finishing on the same beach.

The 12-mile cycle takes place on a 6-mile loop out and back over Dunedin Causeway drawbridge and around the island, usually taking 30-45 minutes.

The first mile of the 5k run takes place along the coastline on the hard surface of the car parks along the west coast of the island, with many beautiful scenes to appreciate along the way. The second mile takes you on to a trail close to the beach in the remote trails of Osprey Trailhead, while the final mile leads you out of Osprey Trailhead and back along the car parks towards the finish.

Date

Usually the first or second week in June.

How to get there/Where to stay?

Return flights from Dublin to Tampa International Airport in June are currently priced at €630.

There are a number of hotels and inns to choose from in Dunedin, with tripadvisor.com offering price comparison to match your preferences.

Contact

Web: www.dunedin triathlon.com

Email: SuzanneHenslee Triathlon@gmail.com

Highs The run is regarded as the highlight of the race as entrants experience the beautiful scenery of the island.

lows Strong currents making the swim that bit harder.

Irish Independent

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