Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Ex-NFL star struggles but finishes St. Anthony's Triathlon

ST. PETERSBURG — Former NFL receiver and Dancing With the Stars winner Hines Ward was glad to see the swim leg of Sunday's St. Anthony's Triathlon shortened from 1.5 kilometers to 750 yards because of choppy waters.

"Compared to my first triathlon, this swim felt great," said Ward, who played 14 seasons with the Steelers. "I was ready. I've been training."

St. Anthony's was Ward's first Olympic-distance triathlon. He did a spring triathlon last month in San Diego but struggled in the water.

"He's come a long way," Ward's coach, Paula Newby-Fraser, said. "He was just awesome."

Fraser, the winner of eight Ironman World Championships, is training Ward as part of the "Got Chocolate Milk?" ad campaign.

"I think he really dug down deep for this one," Newby-Fraser said. "Now it is on to Kona."

Ward, 37, plans to do a Half Ironman next then the granddaddy of all triathlons, the Ironman in Hawaii, all in less than one year.

"After all those years in the NFL, you would think that I was in good shape," Ward said. "But playing football is nothing like endurance sports."

Ward's overall time was 2 hours, 26 minutes, 37 seconds. He finished the abbreviated swim in 15:53, the 40-kilometer bike in 1:33:27 and the 10-kilometer run in 51:27.

"I am ready for the next one," said Ward, who had 1,000 catches in the NFL. "It gets a little easier with each triathlon."

Pitch man: Anthony Sullivan is best known for his infomercials. But the 44-year-old star of late-night TV also was a standout swimmer growing up in Devon, England.

"I swam the 100 butterfly," said Sullivan, who lives in St. Petersburg. "I still work out every day with the master's team at North Shore Pool."

Sullivan has completed the Olympic distance triathlon for the past seven years. But this year, he had to sit out the bike and run and do the swim as part of a relay team.

"I'm nursing a hip injury," said Sullivan, an all-around outdoorsman who takes yearly surf trips to Costa Rica. "I hurt it dirt biking in Colorado."

Sullivan said he plans to do the full triathlon next year.

"The St. Anthony's Triathlon is one of the reasons why I moved to St. Petersburg," he said. "I just love this race."

Team spirit: In addition to thousands of individuals, the St. Anthony's Triathlon always draws hundreds of triathletes who compete on relay teams. Many of this year's finishers got their start on teams such as St. Petersburg's T3.

"It stands for Teamwork, Train, Tri!" said Christy Nelson, who does the running. "We are just friends and neighbors who help each other belong."

The team started when Trisha Johnson, a 46-year-old mother of two, started swimming to lose some baby weight. Johnson recruited Nelson, an experienced distance runner, half-Ironman finisher and mother. The two then recruited another mom, 43-year-old Jennifer Thayer, to cycle, and a tri-team was born.

The trio won their first race, the Longleaf Tri Sprint, in October. Sunday, the competition was a little tougher. Team Tri! finished in 2:50:25, eighth in the women's division.

Said Nelson: "We are just happy to be in the top 10."

Miscellany: Many of the nearly 100 pros who competed for the $65,000 purse also earned points in the opening of the nine-city 5150 circuit. … The event drew athletes from 44 states and 23 countries.

Ex-NFL star struggles but finishes St. Anthony's Triathlon 04/28/13 [Last modified: Sunday, April 28, 2013 8:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning: Jon Cooper takes unusual tact to create mismatches

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Tyler Johnson is about to swing his left leg over the boards for his next shift alongside linemate Alex Killorn and ... whom else?

    Stamkos? Kucherov? Point?

    Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper argues the called as his team gets a faceoff violation, leading to penalty and #Caps PP goal, during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (10/09/17).DIRK SHADD   |   Times
  2. A buzz-worthy look at the Astros-Dodgers World Series matchup

    The Heater

    Houston Astros' Yuli Gurriel is congratulated by Jose Altuve after scoring during the fifth inning of Game 7 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) TXMG170
  3. Florida, FSU try to ignore death threats, angry fans


    GAINESVILLE — Frustration over uncharacteristically down seasons at Florida and Florida State has started to spill over from message boards and start crossing real-world lines.

    Fans watch the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville, Fla. At the half, Florida was up 10 to 3.
  4. Fennelly: Would you take Jameis Winston over Cam Newton?


    Factoring out futures, it wouldn't be a short list if I picked NFL quarterbacks I'd take right now over Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston (3) calls a play during the first half of Sunday's game. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: What went wrong on defense?


    Greg Auman is back from Buffalo, going back over a difficult finish and tough loss for the Bucs, in his latest Cannon Fodder podcast.

    Buffalo Bills tight end Logan Thomas (82) makes a touchdown catch over Bucs defensive back T.J. Ward (43) during the second half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]