Collier triathlon safety

Posted at 10:27 PM, Jan 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-08 22:27:32-05

NAPLES, FLA. - Fun, Safety on the minds of tri-athletes

1,300 people from all over the country are in Collier County this weekend for a two day, annual event known as the HITS Triathlon series.

"The fastest time in the history of the 140 miles is right around 8 hours, that's not what we're going to see tomorrow," said Race Director Tom Struzzieri.

It could take 9 to 10 hours for participants to complete the grueling 2 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike ride and 26 mile marathon.

Very few walk-ups are expected when the event kicks off early Saturday morning.

"Most people planned this out because it is so much training," said Struzzieri.

Two years ago, a sixty-year-old man died after collapsing during the sprint event in this same triathlon.  Race officials have nearly 100 Collier County deputies and EMS crews working the course which extends from Vanderbilt Beach to Ave Maria.

"We have an emergency action plan that is second to none," adds Struzzieri.

He says racers should have been preparing for the triathlon for several months.  They should be eating before and during the race.

"A Triathlon is 90 percent mental and 10 percent strength," said Jake Saussman, who is running a shorter version of the race Sunday.

There will be several road closures Saturday and Sunday for this race, particularly at Vanderbilt Beach Road.

There will be significant traffic delays at all north and south intersections.  Delays could last as long as 35 to 40 minutes.