The 10th annual Mack Cycle Escape to Miami Triathlon on Sunday will start with participants diving off a boat .9 miles from the downtown coastline at 7 a.m., and then they will race to the shore at Margaret Pace Park.
Competitors in the international distance will be ferried to “Escape Island” in Biscayne Bay for a unique start. They will swim across open water to the transition point at the park and then embark on a 24.8-mile bike course over the Julia Tuttle Causeway to Miami Beach that includes eight bridge crossings. From there it will be a 6.2-mile running course on the MacArthur Causeway to Star Island and back.
For most of the participants in the international distance, it is all about the extreme conditions of South Florida’s heat and humidity.
“The harder the better,” quadruple bypass survivor Scott Stephens, 60, said. “I like challenges. The heat and running without shade is what makes Escape to Miami so tough. At the end of September it’s still really hot out, especially at the end of the race. But I always finish, and that gives me a great sense of accomplishment. I had my personal best two years ago. But it had to do with the weather. It was a cool day, not windy. The seas were calm.”
Although the sprint distance is considered more manageable, with a .25-mile swim along the shoreline followed by a 13-mile bike course and a 3.1-mile run, it is still challenge.
Spectators can cheer on the athletes at the finish at Margate Pace Park on Sunday morning.