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Jump from a boat into 55-degree water? It must be the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon

A look at one of the sport's iconic races

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

It is among the most popular triathlons in the world. Since 1981 – yes, just three years after the first Ironman race was held in Hawaii – athletes have been taking on the famous event that begins with a frigid swim just off of Alcatraz Island. While the distances have changed over the years (believe it or not the original race featured a 1.5-mile swim, a 20-mile bike and an 18-mile run – now the bike is 18 miles and the run is eight), the excitement and spirit of the race has not.

What makes the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon one of the sport’s most iconic races?

Today 2,300 athletes braved the cold water in San Francisco Bay, enjoying the same current that helped the pros in yesterday’s T100 event average considerably less than a minute per hundred metres.

Triathlon Magazine editor Kevin Mackinnon was on hand to photograph today’s race – we recap the exciting day in words and pictures.

The infamous Alcatraz prison.
The athletes jump off the San Francisco Belle to begin their day.
One, two, three … jump.

The current helped the swimmers fly through the swim in record times.
Hitting the beach with Alcatraz in the background.
Offering a helping hand to one of the PC athletes.
Kelly Barton was one of the first women out of the water.
Thumbs up – riding fast and a great backdrop.
Barton led off the bike, too.
All smiles early on the bike.
So, what’s your excuse for not racing?
Wictor Rajca would win the men’s race overall.
Golden Gate x 2
Alex Sborov finished second overall.
Inspiration in action.
Race director Bill Burke with a happy finisher.
A good time was had by all!