PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla- Over a thousand athletes converged on the Panama City Beach for the 29th annual Gulf Coast Triathlon Saturday.
A little after 6:20 this morning triathlon was kicked off with the tough 1.2 mile swim in the gulf. The water was relatively calm this morning and not to chilly so the swim was pretty good for the triathlete’s. They went off in stages according to age groups as well as pro status.
After the swim comes the changeover to the 56 mile bike ride. Then they head out onto the course that takes them throughout PCB and West Bay and all the way up Highway 79 and back to the Boardwalk Beach Resort.
Coming out of the bike ride again a quick switch at Boardwalk, and it's on to the 13.1 mile run down Thomas drive, through the neighborhoods, and into the State Park and back.
After all that here's the first person to cross the finish line, it's pro racer Bojan Maric in a time of 4:29:17, he takes the pro crown, but he wasn't the overall winner because age grouper Clayton Tillery came in a bit later and bettered his time by 7 minutes for the overall win.
On the women's side the leader all day was two time reigning champion Caroline Smith.
She held onto her lead for the pro's going into the run course and she comes home in a time of. 4 hours 38 minutes and 1 second.
She just edged out former pro and current age grouper Deana Newman, by just two seconds.
I turned pro, won this race in 2009, and then repeated in 2010. Regardless of if I repeated again this year, it's still a growth, and it's part of a journey that basically changed my life,” Smith said. “I've used it to springboard me into a whole different chapter of Caroline Smith, it's pretty cool."
The first local finisher is yet again David Shearon; he finished with a time of 4 hours 32 minutes and 16 seconds that was good enough for an overall 9th place finish. It was also Shearon's 8th local win in this race in a row.