Forty-eight swimmers battled rough seas and high winds on Saturday in what many consider one of the world's grueling open-water swimming races.
Ramses Rodriguez, a 37-year-old Cuban expatriate from Port St. Lucie, won this year's 24-mile ultra-distance event that starts at the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and finishes at Whiskey Joe's on the Tampa side of the Courtney Campbell Causeway.
It took Rodriguez 10 hours and 14 minutes to finish the race, which is held every year to celebrate Earth Day and the revitalization of Florida's largest estuary.
Rodriguez was one of 11 solo swimmers in this year's event. Other finishers included: Boris Fernandez, 35 of Key Biscayne, 10 hours, 22 minutes; Gilles Chalandon, 52 of New York, 11:07; John Muenzer, 47 of Elgin, Ill., 12:07; Michael Tschantz-Hahn, 41 of Chicago, 12:36; LaurieJo Hall, 32 of Marietta, Ohio, 12:38; Yesenia Cabrera Fuegos, 36 of Guatemala City, Guatemala, 13:18.
Local relay teams that finished included the: HARPS (Hopefully Approaching Retirement Pretty Soon) Robert Aldrich, 60 of St. Petersburg; Pat Marzulli, 60 of Indian Rocks Beach; Cyle Sage, 44 of Tampa; Carl Selles, 62 of St. Petersburg, 9:58; First America Bank, Tim Kennedy, 52 of St. Petersburg; Jeffrey Logsdon, 38 of Bradenton; Keith Nelson, 44 of Treasure Island, 11:24.
Since this event debuted in 1998, competitors from across the United States, Great Britain, Guatemala, Italy, Australia, Dominican Republic, Germany, India, Canada and the Cayman Islands have come to Florida to test their swimming skills in the rough waters of Tampa Bay.
For complete marathon swim race information, go to www.distancematters.com.
Harvey's 5K: St. Petersburg's Festival of States has a history stretching back more than 100 years, but when it came to this year's Harvey's 5K Run, the night belonged to the young.
Saturday's event drew more than 300 of the most dedicated runners in the Tampa Bay area. Cameron Wheeler, a 15-year-old from St. Petersburg, was the first person across the finish line with a time of 17:49. Not far behind was Blake Arnold, 14 of Pinellas Park, in 18:13. He was followed by St. Petersburg's Andrew Chandler, 35, in third place with an 18:39.
Alex Eaton, 13 of St. Petersburg, won the women's division with a 20:09. She was followed by Loretta Simeon, 43 of St. Petersburg, in 20:49 and Carol Glasscock, 42, also of St. Petersburg, in 21:05.
Local male age group winners included: (13 and under) John Gerard Farese, 13 of St. Petersburg, 19:21; (30-34) Brian Darrow, 33 of St. Petersburg, 19:34; (40-44) Matt Depenbrack, 40 of St. Petersburg, 19:45; (45-49) Wesley Carr, 45 of St. Petersburg, 19:01; (50-54) Tom Kiggins, 50 of Largo, 19:22; (55-59) George Steriadij, 56 of Clearwater, 21:12; (60-64) Gar Flisek, 63 of Dunedin, 22:48.
Local female age group winners included: (13 and under) Olivia Rovin, 10 of St. Petersburg, 24:15; (14-19) Savannah Dearden, 15 of St. Petersburg, 22:51; (20-24) Yova Borovska, 23 of St. Petersburg, 24:34; (25-29) Meredith Ludwig, 26 of St. Petersburg, 22:46; (35-39) Claudia Frontel, 35 of St. Petersburg, 24:26; (45-49) Patricia Farese, 47 of St. Petersburg, 22:48; (55-59) Anna Knowles, 58 of St. Petersburg, 25:54; (60-64) Sandra Anderson, 60 of St. Petersburg, 35:34.
Triathlon Update: Kathy Frailing, 42 of Belleair, placed first in her age group and was the women's masters champion at the Ironman 70.3 New Orleans Triathlon on April 5. About 3,000 triathletes participated in this inaugural event. She completed the 1.2-mile swim in 33:10, the 56-mile bike in 2:36:37 with an average speed of 21:45 and the 13.1-mile run in 1:44:58, an eight-minute a mile pace.
Marathon man: Marty Slade, a 43-year-old building contractor from Pass-A-Grille, returned to his hometown of Champaign, Ill., on April 11 to run his first marathon. It was 31 degrees and windy, but Slade delivered an impressive performance, crossing the finish line in 3:28:46.
"Mile 20 was pretty hard, but I have been coached by Joe Burgasser for the past six months," Slade said. "That really helped me a lot. He did a good job of getting prepared both mentally and physically for the run."
Terry Tomalin can be reached at email@example.com