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Popularity continues to grow for Captiva triathlon

By Staff | Jun 7, 2013

Families from Gateway training for the Galloway Captiva Triathlon. From left, Cameron Simmons, the youngest at six; Logan Dunham, 10; Ben Dunham, 10; Simon Dunham, 13; Katie Donlan, 12; Daniel Donlan, 15; Brian Dunham; Kim Dunham; Mike Donlan; Francesca Donlan; Shane Simmons; and Shannon Simmons. PHOTO PROVIDED.

Athletes of all shapes and sizes will swim, bike, and run against each other this September.

The third annual Galloway Captiva Triathlon is scheduled for Sept. 14-15 at the South Seas Island Resort to benefit Community Cooperative Ministries, Inc. Popularity for the race has grown each year, said Kate Gooderham, one of the race organizers, and today it’s considered one of the most scenic triathlons in the country.

“It’s very high energy and exciting to be a part of it,” she said.

For the first time ever the race is offering an “elite amateur participant” category for athletes who want to take it to the next level. The event is sanctioned by USA Triathlon, the official governing body of triathlons, and Gooderham said elite participants need to meet certain USAT standards to register.

Even with the new elite category, the event is designed for all levels of athlete from beginner to highly experienced.

“We have a wide variety of participants, some are very experienced athletes who have been part of Ironman competitions and have unbelievable backgrounds, and we have some people who this is their very first triathlon,” said Gooderham.

The first events are for children on Saturday. Children athletes, ages 6-9, will complete a 100 yard swim, 1.5 mile bike and half mile run, and ages 10-13 will have a 200 yard swim, three mile bike, and one mile run.

Adults compete on Sunday morning by swimming 0.25 miles in the Gulf of Mexico, biking 10 miles on a closed road course, and running 3.1 miles on the resort golf course.

There are 750 open spots for the adult competition. Gooderham said space for the children’s events, which is now sold out, was limited because organizers wanted to make sure children were always in arms reach of an adult.

“The children’s race is small because we have a lot of adults involved so everyone feels the kids are safe,” she said.

Proceeds from the triathlon benefit the backpack program at Community Cooperative Ministries, Inc., a Southwest Florida non-profit dedicated to eliminating hunger and homelessness. Last year, the event donated $15,000 to CCMI.

While a majority of athletes are from the islands, some come from Fort Myers, Cape Coral, and even states as far away as New York. Gooderham said last year’s race had registrants from 14 states.

Three families living in Gateway in Fort Myers have been training together since January for the triathlon.

“Every weekend we run, swim, or bike together,” said Brian Dunham, a resident of Gateway. “We’re all shapes and sizes with varying degrees of fitness. The triathlon has galvanized our neighborhood and gotten us in much better shape.”

For more information on the event, visit www.captivatri.org or search for Captiva Tri on Facebook.