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Galloway Captiva Triathlon taking registrations for final time

By Staff | Aug 29, 2018

FILE PHOTO The annual event will take place on Sept. 15-16 on the grounds of South Seas Island Resort and the surrounding areas.

Time is quickly running out to sign up for the last Galloway Captiva Triathlon to ever be held.

Organized by the local non-profit corporation Southwest Florida Events, the annual event will take place on Sept. 15-16 on the grounds of South Seas Island Resort and the surrounding areas. First held in 2011, it helps to raise funds for Community Cooperative and the Healthy School Pantry program.

“Nobody was doing this,” Angie Ferguson, race co-director with Kate Gooderham, said.

She explained that the aim was to provide a special event to the community but also give back.

“We just felt there was a need in the area,” she added.

In total, the event has raised $166,500 for Community Cooperative over the years.

Gooderham noted that it will be the last year for the triathlon.

“The race is an incredible amount of work,” she said, explaining that organizing the yearly event is complicated, putting it on takes a large number of volunteers and now there are other triathlons around the state. “A triathlon is many many more times difficult than pretty much any other athletic event.”

And some things simply run their course.

“It was fun while it lasted,” Gooderham said. “We wanted it to end on a high note.”

The two-day event consists of a youth triathlon on Sept. 15, then an adult triathlon on Sept. 16. Both events are sanctioned by USA Triathlon, and participants must be members or obtain a one-day waiver. Information about purchasing the waiver can be found on the website when signing up for the events.

The youth triathlon is broken down into three age groups. For ages 6-8 and ages 9-10, the course includes a 100-yard swim, 1.5-mile bike ride and half-mile run; for those ages 11-13, it consists of a 200-yard swim, three-mile bike ride and one-mile run. The entry fee is $30 for youth to take part.

Ferguson noted that it is not a timed event.

“Our goal is to get every child out there to participate and have fun,” she said.

The event starts at about 7:30 a.m., with the youth to take off in sets of waves.

Every child who crosses the finish line will receive a medal.

“We want to make sure all of the kids feel successful,” Ferguson said. “We want to make sure this is a positive experience.”

The following day, the adults will compete starting at about 7:15 a.m.

She explained that the “elites” – men and women who qualified based on their time – will take off first, followed by waves every three minutes. The course consists of a 440-yard or quarter-mile swim, a 9.4-mile bike ride, and a 3.1-mile or 5K run. The entry fees are $220 for teams or $95 for individuals.

Ferguson noted that an average of 750 to 800 people participate.

“Our lead athletes are going to finish in under an hour,” she said. “Our first-timers or multiple generations can be out there for an hour and a half, an hour and forty-five minutes.”

Gooderham explained the course is one of the things that sets the event apart from others.

The swim takes participants in the Gulf of Mexico, just offshore from the northern tip of the resort, followed by the bike ride along a paved island road, which will be closed to foot and motoring traffic.

“It’s the length of Captiva Drive, down to the bridge and back,” she said.

The run portion weaves along the Gulf, Redfish Pass and the golf course at South Seas on a combination of hard sand and paver. Gooderham noted that it goes around the golf course.

“It’s a circular route,” she said. “It’s a pretty run.”

Gooderham added that organizers are monitoring the water.

“It’s been a challenge this year with the concerns about water quality,” she said. “We’re hoping that the Gulf of Mexico will be swimmable. If the water is not safe to be in, we will be a run-bike-run race.”

Gooderham noted that the water will be tested prior to the start of the event.

“We want them to be healthy and safe,” she said of the participants.

Ferguson pointed out other perks about the island triathlon.

“We are definitely a boutique race – we provide cooling towels and misting fans at the finish line,” she said. “We just make it a very special event with all of the little extras.”

High-quality trophies will be awarded to the top three finishers in each division.

“We hand-make all of our trophies,” Ferguson said.

“And everybody who finishes gets a medal,” she added.

The deadline to register is Aug. 30.

Spectators are welcome to come out and root on the participants.

“Parking is very very limited,” Gooderham said, noting that parking on the north end of the resort is reserved for the athletes. “For everybody, we urge them to carpool – or bike or walk, if possible.”

Spectator parking will be available at the south end.

“The resort will have shuttles to take them up to the north end,” she said.

“The big important thing is they understand that the road closes,” Gooderham added.

Both participants and spectators are reminded that Captiva Drive will close at 6:45 a.m., so they will need to be at the north end before 6:30 a.m. or they will be unable to take part in or watch the race.

“It does not open until 8:45 a.m.,” she said.

Gooderham recommended that people hit the road early.

“Remember that traffic will be heavy,” she said. “We have a lot of people driving in.”

Organizers encouraged people to sign up or come out to watch.

“They’ll never get to do it again,” Gooderham said. “It’s a beautiful fun event.”

This year’s title sponsor is Galloway Family of Dealerships. Lee County Sports Development is the sponsor for the adult triathlon, and Jason Gunter, P.A., is the sponsor for the children’s triathlon.

For more information or to register, visit www.captivatri.org or “Captiva Triathlon” on Facebook.

Volunteers are still needed to help out. For more information, email captivatri@gmail.com.