Category Archives: Race of the Week

Race of the Week: Nature Coast Twilight Triathlon

By Pete Williams

Running Crystal River

It’s amazing how an unusual start time can change the entire feel of a triathlon. The Nature Coast Twilight Triathlon, which takes place at 7:30 p.m. in Crystal River on Saturday, July 23, is one of the rare triathlons that does not get underway at the crack of dawn.

Most triathlons take place at dawn to facilitate road closures and avoid weekend crowds. But because the Twilight Triathlon takes place mostly away from traffic at Fort Island Gulf Beach Park, DRC Sports race organizers have the option of a PM race to go with their popular Crystal River Sprint Tri series.

We recently spoke with race director Chris Moling on the Fitness Buff Radio show and you can listen to that interview HERE.

Name of Race: Nature Coast Twilight Triathlon

History: Debuted in 2007, fifth annual

Format: One-quarter mile swim, 10-mile bike, 3-mile run

Amenities: Saturday night party on the beach with post-race music, refreshments, and awards.

Signature Features: Night-time triathlon. Bike lights are required for safety reasons. Reflective apparel or tape is necessary for the run as well.

Projected Turnout: Race is capped at 300 because of limited parking at Fort Island Gulf Beach Park

Cost: One of the more affordable triathlons at just $55 (for USAT members) through July 20 and $70 after (if available).

Sign-Up: Via or download form at DRCSports site.

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Race of the Week: SUP Splash St. Pete Beach

By Pete Williams

SUP Splash Comes to St. Pete

With the possible exception of adventure mud runs, no segment of the endurance sports race scene has boomed more in 2011 than stand-up paddleboard races. Here in Florida, it’s possible to find one virtually every weekend and there’s now even a regional SUP series to keep up with demand.

The SUP Splash Race Series, which debuted last month at Lake Lanier in Georgia, comes to The Postcard Inn on St. Pete Beach on Saturday, July 16 at 9 a.m. The race is organized in part by Karen Mirlenbrink, owner of the Dunedin Pilates Studio and an accomplished paddler who recently joined us to put us to talk about the race on The Fitness Buff Show.

Name of Race: SUP Splash St. Pete Beach

Location: The Postcard Inn, 6300 Gulf Boulevard, St. Pete Beach, FL 33706

History: This inaugural race is the second in the five-race SUP Splash Race Series, which includes two races in Georgia and a season-ending event Oct. 1 in Chattanooga, Tenn. The St. Pete race benefits Surfrider Foundation, a non-profit grassroots organization whose mission is the protection and enjoyment of the worlds oceans, beaches and waves with conservation, activism, research and education.

Format: Six-mile elite race and three-mile open races open to SUP, outrigger, and kayak.

Schwag: T-shirts plus weekend-long goodies. There’s “Welcome Night” packet pickup on Friday, July 15 from 6 to 9 p.m. at The Postcard Inn sponsored by Barefoot Wine. Free appetizers and beverages for racers ($10 for guests). Race entry includes lunch, beer, and awards on Saturday. There’s also a concert later in the afternoon.

Signature Feature: St. Pete Beach is quickly becoming a popular destination for SUP racing with its calm flat water. Course also goes into Treasure Island.

Projected Turnout: 75-100

Cost: $40

Registration: At SUP Splash Series site

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Nation’s Largest Beer Run?

By Pete Williams

Postrace at The Oldsmar Tap House

When Fred Rzymek and Tony Falso staged the inaugural “Oldsmar Tap House 5K” in 2009, they figured they’d draw 300 runners to the bar just west of Tampa for a Friday night run.

Instead, more than 700 athletes pre-registered. Another 500 showed up an hour before the race. By the time the first kegs were tapped, a crowd of 2,000 athletes and spectators had gathered.

Last year, the race grew to 1,400 runners. This year, more than 1,500 are expected.

Apparently the way to deal with a recession in the endurance world is to offer free beer – but not just any beer.

“Everyone has Michelob Ultra after an event,” says Rzymek, a longtime race director in the Tampa Bay area who is staging the third-annual Oldsmar Tap House 5K on June 10 at 7 p.m. “Being able to enjoy a number of craft beers no doubt helps.”

This year, Sierra Nevada is the official beer sponsor, providing 25 kegs. That will get things started, with the Oldsmar Tap House providing other craft beers as the night goes on.

As usual, the street in front of The Tap House will be shut down to traffic, creating a block party. There will be a live band and runners receive towels in addition to T-shirts. The first 50 male and first 50 female finishers will receive a lanyard and one-liter plastic “das boot” to fill with beer (up from the 18-ounce versions distributed the last two years). The boot allows access to an express beer line all evening.

Rzymek also will distribute 100 pairs of Boston Bill sunglasses, probably through a random drawing of sorts.

Falso opened the Oldsmar Tap House in an upscale but largely vacant office-and-condo district in February 2008, not long before the economy crashed. The brew pub features dozens of microbrews and an old-time pub atmosphere. Some patrons take on the challenge of drinking a 60-ounce beer from one of the Tap House’s signature glass boots.

When the pub opened, a running group was leaving for Wednesday twilight runs along the Oldsmar waterfront from a nearby bike store, meeting at the Tap House afterward for beer. When the bike shop closed the group, now known as the Oldsmar Run Club, began departing from the brew pub parking lot. The Wednesday night Tap House run continues to be one of the best-attended in the Tampa Bay area.

As for the race, Rzymek says he already has more than 1,000 runners pre-registered. There is early packet pick-up and sign-up at the Oldsmar Tap House on Wednesday, June 8 and Thursday, June 9 from 4 to 8 p.m. Online registration is open until the evening of June 8.

“You get the shirt and towel, and maybe win a boot,” says Falso, the Tap House owner. “Heck, some people drink enough free beer to cover their race entry fee.”


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Race of the Week: Spring into Summer 5K

By Pete Williams

Running at Al Lopez Park

Lynn Gray is a one-woman running conglomerate in the Tampa Bay area. An accomplished age-group runner of all distances, she’s mentored countless runners through her Take the First Step Club. She’s also an author, triathlete, featured trainer in The St. Petersburg Times, and part of the team behind the upcoming Spring into Summer 5K.

The race, which takes place at Tampa’s Al Lopez Park on Saturday, June 4 at 8 a.m., is known for it’s many raffle prizes and large turnout, especially among women. It’s a popular first-time 5K, though many return year after year to do a fast course with a great post-race party.

We spoke with Gray about running and the race this week on The Fitness Buff Show.

Name of Race: Spring into Summer 5K

History: Eighth-annual event

Format: One loop course through shady Al Lopez Park, located near Raymond James Stadium and Jesuit High School in Tampa. Also a one-mile Kids Fun Run.

Amenities: T-shirts, post-race food, raffles, 3-deep age-group awards

Signature Features: Numerous raffle prizes, including donations from multiple Tampa Bay area running stores. “A lot of people are going to go home with something,” Gray says.

Projected Turnout: 350-plus

Cost: $25 for 5K; $10 for Kids Fun Run

Sign-Up: Via or download a printable copy HERE

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Race of the Week: Streak the Cove 5K

By Pete Williams

Going Streaking

We’ve been promoting this event for some time, of course, but this production of Enterprise Media, LLC, is finally here.

The Streak the Cove 5K, a clothing-optional run held at the Cypress Cove nudist resort in Kissimmee, will take place on Sunday, May 22 at 8:30 a.m. Inspired by the success of last October’s Caliente Bare Dare 5K, the Streak the Cove will be a two-lap course through the shady neighborhoods of Cypress Cove, which opened its doors for nudists in 1964.

Back then, “The Cove” was nestled on a two-lane road among cow pastures and orange groves. These days, there’s a Lowe’s home improvement store across the street, part of a bustling Orlando suburb. The Cove, meanwhile, has upgraded its facilities over the years and now has a sprawling pool complex and 80-plus hotel rooms to go with its beautiful lakeside setting.

Name of Race: Streak the Cove 5K

History: The Cypress Cove Resort staged a 5K race last year with little advance preparation and fanfare. This year, Enterprise Media LLC, organizer of the successful Caliente Bare Dare 5K has taken over race management.

Format: Two-loop course through the shady neighborhoods of Cypress Cove. Race ends at the resort’s sprawling pool complex.

Amenities: Fitted T-shirts for female runners, sharp ash gray shirts for the guys. Commemorative mini-bottles of wine to the top 20 male and top 20 female finishers. The FitNiche running store will be on hand with its mobile shoe store trailer. Mix1 all-natural recovery drinks available at the finish line. Goody bags before the race and post-race refreshment poolside, along with deejay and raffle drawings.

Signature Features: Um, it’s a clothing-optional race.

Projected Turnout: 150

Cost: $30 via online registration which closes at 11:59 p.m ET on Thursday, May 19. Raceday registration available for $32.

Sign-Up: Via IMAthlete



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Race of the Week: Florida International Triathlon

By Pete Williams

Heading into the water for the FIT

It’s tough to think of a more beautiful triathlon location than Siesta Key Beach, the barrier island off the coast of Sarasota. Between the Gulf swim, bike course that passes some stunning high-end real estate and a run on packed sand, it’s one of the state’s more popular tri destinations.

On Saturday, May 14, Siesta Key hosts the seventh-annual Florida International Triathlon. Hosted by the Sarasota Storm Tri Club, it features sprint and Olympic distance triathlons, along with a duathlon. We spoke with Jackie Miller, a USAT-certified coach and one of the race organizers, on The Fitness Buff Show last week. You can listen to that interview HERE.

Name of Race: Florida International Triathlon

History: The race began in 2005 as the Sharks Classic but was renamed in 2010. The Sarasota Storm Tri Club is not to be confused with the Sarasota YMCA Sharks, the powerhouse youth swim club that puts on a triathlon in Siesta Key in October.

Format: Sprint and Olympic-distance triathlons, as well as a duathlon. The sprint is a longer event as sprint tris go with a half-mile swim, 13-mile bike and 5K run. The duathlon consists of a 1-mile run, 13-mile bike, and 5K run.

Amenities: T-shirts, postrace awards and food, expo on Friday from noon to 7 p.m.

Signature Features: Beautiful half-mile swim in generally calm water, run on packed sand beach

Projected Turnout: 750 for the three events combined

Cost: $85 for sprint triathlon or duathlon through May 10; $125 for international triathlon through May 10

Sign-Up: Via

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Race of the Week: Innisbrook Green Day 5K

By Pete Williams

Innisbrook's North Course

Many runners know the joy of running along a golf course early in the morning. Long before golfers show up, it’s possible to enjoy the smell of fresh-cut grass and enjoy the natural sounds of wildlife without worrying about getting hit by errant shots.

Unfortunately, such running usually constitutes trespassing, which is what makes the Innisbrook Green Day 5K such an attractive race. Held on Saturday, May 7 at 8:30 a.m. on the North Course of the Innisbrook Golf & Spa Resort in Palm Harbor, which hosts annual PGA and LPGA events, the 5K gives runners the chance to run along the fairways and cart paths of one of Florida’s finest golf destinations.

Innisbrook is a green resort and as part of the Green Day 5K runners and guests can donate gently-used shoes to Soles4Souls. There also will be a free electronic recycling drive in partnership with Intercon Solutions.

Name of Race: Innisbrook Green Day 5K

History: This is a third-annual event held at the Innisbrook Golf & Spa Resort, located at 36750 U.S. Highway 19 North between Alderman Road and Klosterman Road.

Format: 5K course on the fairways and cart paths of the North Course, which will be closed to golf. The course offers elevation changes and scenic golf course views.

Amenities: Goodie bag for each 5K participant. Family-friendly activities, age-division awards, live music, and free beer (while supplies last)

Signature Features: Running on the course itself. This is the course to break out the Vibram Five Fingers or similar footwear. The race also is dog friendly. Be sure to bring a six-foot leash and your own bags for cleanup.

Projected Turnout: 200

Cost: $20 in advance, $25 race day. Just $5 for kids 6-12 and children under 5 are free.

Sign-Up: Via IMAthlete

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