By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – The 2019 Escape to Miami Triathlon presented by Voler is the final event in the Life Time Tri Series calendar, and will take place in Miami on Sunday, September 22nd. The race will begin at 7AM at Escape Island and Margaret Pace Park, and city officials have announced road closures as the athletes compete for glory.
The forecast calls for wind and rain but that may be welcome news for the athletes given Miami’s climate. Scott “Hootie” Hutmacher, Senior Brand Manager at Life Time explains, “We’ll have 1,750 total participants, growth of ten percent verses last year.”
He adds, “The event historically hosted 2,000 participants until 2017, when Hurricane Irma forced us to cancel the event. Like any race interruption within our industry, we’re slowly recovering to normal participation numbers.”
The Escape to Miami Triathlon offers two race distances for adult competitors, for individual or relay team (2-3 people) formats. The International track includes the Swim Course (1.5 KM/0.9 Miles) which starts on Escape Island and heads back to Miami in the open waters of Biscayne Bay north of the Venetian and MacArthur Causeways.
The Bike Course (40 KM/24.8 Miles) rides over the bay on a straightaway into Miami Beach using the Julia Tuttle Causeway. The two-lap course provides a challenge as you climb the causeway while remaining within view of Escape Island.
This portion of the course requires participants to climb the causeway’s bridges eight times. The course also passes through Miami’s Wynwood Design District and past some of Miami Beach’s well-known mansions along Alton Road.
The Run Course (10 KM/6.2 Miles) passes the Adrienne Arsht Center and Miami Herald buildings, two of Miami’s signature architectural landmarks. Then runners begin the climb over the MacArthur Causeway, along cruise ship row and Hibiscus & Palm Islands, then turn around at Star Island, home of Miami’s rich and famous.
The Sprint distances are abbreviated routes of Swim Course (0.4 KM/0.25 Miles), Bike Course (21 KM/13 Miles), and Run Course (5 KM/3.1 Miles). There are a number of different groupings and divisions and start times, all listed on their web site.
Hutmacher describes some key features of the race, “The event’s most unique feature in the swim experience. Athletes are taxied out to Escape Island, an uninhabited oasis in the middle of Biscayne Bay, where they wait – in the dark – to start at sunrise.”
Adding “Island fire dancers and a massive video boat will keep them entertained – and hopefully their nerves at ease – before they swim nearly a mile to shore.”
“The Run Course is also quite unique, offering a challenging climb over the MacArthur Causeway, running along cruise ship row and Hibiscus & Palm Islands before finishing back at Margaret Pace Park.”
In terms of location for a triathlon, Hutmacher explains why Miami is so special. “This type of race experience simply can’t be replicated anywhere. The energy this creates is unlike any other triathlon and exemplifies the production quality Life Time puts into its athletic events (more than thirty each year, by the way).”
Life Time is inviting the general public to Margaret Pace Park to spectate and peruse the expo. The expo and finish festival are open from 10AM to 6PM on Saturday and again from 7AM to 1PM on Sunday.
Hutmacher also adds, “Spectators and participants alike should know about a fun competition we’re hosting on Sunday: ‘Tri To Catch Max!’ We’re pitting pro triathlete Max Fennell against anyone who can either beat him, or finish within 60 seconds.”
He explains, “If that happens, Life Time is donating $1,000 to the charity of the winner’s choice and providing some cool swag.”
Road closures have been published and residents should expect delays from 7AM until the early afternoon.