MIRAMAR BEACH, FL-- Nearly 800 exhausted yet excited triathletes took to the beaches and pavement for the Sandestin Triathlon. The event is one of the most popular in the area and was at max capacity.
That comes at no surprise to the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, after all, they've been running and organizing the sprint triathlon every year since 1986.
The 28th straight edition was deemed a success by both organizers and competitors, with great conditions for the half mile swim, followed up by a 20 mile bike ride all up and back 98 and 30A, and capped off with a four mile run through Sandestin. Those distances are much shorter than a half triathlon or a full IRONMAN race, the latter which is over 140 miles in distance traveled by the human body.
Sandestin's sprint triathlon is just under 25 miles, meaning athletes need to change their whole approach, training, effort, and mindset, when they come to this part of the Panhandle.
"It is very different so it is very hard for me because I focus so much on longer course racing," said Jessica Demello, the first female to cross the finish line, racing out of New Orleans, LA. "The short stuff is fun and it really, really tests your fitness. To red-line and go as hard as you can for an hour and a half plus is really, really hard."
"A shorter race like this, you have to put the throttle on and never take it off," said Eric Larson, the first male to finish from Pensacola, FL. "Other races are a little bit more like a chess match or a boxing match; you kind of have to think about it a little longer or realize you have a lot further to go."
"It's much different. It's a higher intensity of training for a short course like Sandestin," added Demello.
Beyond the race, the resort is giving back. Sandestin's donating $20,000 dollars from entrance fees and sponsorships to the Sacred Heart Hospital of the Emerald Coast.